I am trying to create groups based on a primary object as its centroid.

Groups are defined as all objects within a certain distance from a primary object. I am currently using spatial join in a ModelBuilder to create the groups (one to many) with the defined distance, but this causes objects to join more than one primary object's group.

Many objects can be joined to one primary object but objects cannot be in more than one primary object group. If an object falls within the buffer of two primary objects, I would like the object that is closest to be added in that group.

I can use ArcPy if necessary.

  • 1
    Have you tried the Near tool?
    – FSimardGIS
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 0:26

1 Answer 1


Put your primary objects in one feature class and use as join features. Then use CLOSEST match option with your defined distance as search radius and your objects to be grouped as target features.

CLOSEST —The feature in the join features that is closest to a target feature is matched. See the usage tip for more information. Specify a distance in the search_radius parameter.

  • I tried this but it only allows a one to one join even though many objects are within the desired radius - it only reflects the closest object in the attribute table.
    – A22
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 23:36

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