I am using ArcGIS Desktop 10.0 SP2 (ArcView License) and Network Analyst.

Background: I try to create a network of fiber optic cables to specific points along a street network.

Here is what I want to do: I want to create a Minimum Spanning Tree based on a street network to give me the shortest path between a couple of fiber optic access points. The MST should start at a fiber optic distribution point and "span out" to the access points.

What I tried so far: I tried to manage it with the Network Analyst and the 'Closest Facility' analysis. The problem is that it handles each connection between a distribution point and a access point as a independent solution (end up in a single route) - so its not the MST. I am not sure if something like that is possible with a geometric network (with sinks and sources) and a flow direction.

  • spanning tree tools may work but it may not preserve any line positions you have created, it works with point shapefiles try resources.arcgis.com/gallery/file/geoprocessing/…
    – user681
    Jul 19, 2012 at 10:28
  • I am working with the Spanning Tree Tools already. The problem is that it is not possible to make the tree follow the road network
    – oefele
    Jul 19, 2012 at 11:55
  • I do not understand how you propose to use an MST to produce shortest paths. In some cases it can wind up giving you longest paths! (E.g., any two leaves of the tree might be connected on the network and relatively close, but one would have to track down to a common node in the tree and back up again, which could be quite a detour.)
    – whuber
    Jul 19, 2012 at 14:44
  • True. MSP is the tool I use at the moment because I dont know a better solution so far. Any ideas are welcome...
    – oefele
    Jul 19, 2012 at 15:13
  • You would be better served, then, by stating your problem rather than asking about how to implement the (apparently imperfect) solution you are currently using! You seem to refer to two distinct problems: that of finding the shortest distance between two points in a network and that of finding all shortest distances from a single (distribution) point. Which problem do you want to solve and what, exactly, would an acceptable solution look like?
    – whuber
    Jul 19, 2012 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


I found a solution for my problem to create a minimum spanning tree (mst) based on a street network:

  1. I create a mst with the spanning tree tools (http://resources.arcgis.com/de/gallery/file//geoprocessing/details?entryID=B66BA793-1422-2418-A0BE-DDA7E07B348B)

  2. I use the geospatial modelling environment (http://www.spatialecology.com/gme/ - convert.linestopoints function) to create a start and endpoint of every single line of my mst. These points get the ID of the line.

  3. I use the network analyst and the RouteName (ReouteName is the ID of the mst line) function to create single routes between every start and end point created with the geospatial modelling environment.

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