We are developing a property look up tool for environmental hazards/chemical spills. In layout view we have a circular data extent with a graphic of a target house in the center and some proportional circles at increments of .125, .25, .5 and 1 miles from the center of the fixed extent. My environmental hazards/chemical spills are a point layer with 4 different categories, each respectively with requirements to query around the target house at 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 mile distances to see which, if any, of these points falls within its designated distance from the target house.

When exporting data from this layer that is within the view extent... is it possible to have a dynamic attribute table column that would change for each different target house address to tell me how far away the points are from this target house? i.e. whether they fall within those .125, .25, .5 and 1 miles for each category? In short is there a way to query distances (and even directions) from an address and have that data dynamically generated inside an attribute table column that could then be exported?

  • 1
    What software are you using? It sounds like you want Excel functionality in a GIS which, as far as I know, doesn't exist.
    – Fezter
    Jul 12, 2012 at 2:02

1 Answer 1


If you're using ArcGIS, or have access to it, the free Attribute Assistant add-in for ArcMap should be able to do what you're asking for. It allows you to set up rules for particular fields that get executed whenever the data it edited. See the overview pdf for more details.

In your situation, you could potentially use the NEAREST_FEATURE_ATTRIBUTES rule to grab the X and Y location of the nearest spill, then use that information in an EXPRESSION rule that calculates the distance between the hazard point and the building. This could be a little too complex for Attribute Assistant, but it might be worth a try.

Alternatively, if you have access to ArcGIS 10.1, you could create a Python add-in that does what you need.

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