I have a bunch of polygons (parcels, green areas) and a bunch of wells (point, black triangles).

How do I calculate the number of parcels I need to cross to get to the closest well to each parcel?

Straight line distance from the centroid of the parcel is fine.

I am using ArcGIS Desktop 10.6.

Parcels and wells

  • 1
    The answer will vary depending on where you "leave" a parcel. Do you want to make the path between parcel centroids and wells (the easiest solution), or between the nearest point in each parcel to a well?
    – lambertj
    Sep 6, 2019 at 21:14
  • "ArcGIS Desktop 10.x" is a family of products dating back to 2010, three of which have been retired. Please specify the exact software in use within the body of GIS SE questions.
    – Vince
    Sep 6, 2019 at 21:35
  • @lambertj From the centroid of the parcel would work fine. Sep 7, 2019 at 1:53
  • How are you determining the closest well to each parcel?
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 7, 2019 at 3:39
  • 1
    Generate Near Table - XY To Line - Intersect lines with Polygons - Summary statistics
    – BERA
    Sep 7, 2019 at 7:55

1 Answer 1


Your question is unclear.

If you mean you want to know how many parcels to cross to get to each well, then you can create a minimum spanning tree (least amount of line work to connect your well locations). Creating Minimum Spanning Tree based on street network using ArcGIS Desktop? is another GIS SE Q&A that has links to an Esri tool for creating the spanning tree. Then, use a spatial join, or a select by location to get the total count of polygons that cross your spanning tree. Of course, you will need to ensure your data use a projected coordinate reference system.

If you want to know from each individual parcels to every well then create centroids from your polygons and one at a time, include those into the spanning tree and repeat the join or selection.

If you want to visit each individual well once from each parcel then you should search SE for the travelling salesman problem. I believe QGIS can do that.

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