I have calculated cost distance using a raster unrelated to path distance (a heat index) but would like to also measure the true path distance of those 'routes.' Is there a way to calculate such? If I simply calculate path distance, the tool obviously takes different paths than that used for cost distance. I'm using ArcMap.

  • Convert backlink raster to flow direction using Int(Pow(2,blink-1)) and use flow length from hydrology toolset.
    – FelixIP
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 5:51
  • @FelixIP This worked. Thank you!
    – YamCham
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 0:01
  • Please post workflow as answer to your own question. It's ok to accept it.
    – FelixIP
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 2:59

1 Answer 1


I took @FelixIP's suggestion and converted the backlink raster (from the cost distance tool) to flow direction using the formula Int(Power(2,"backlink"-1)) in raster calculator. I then used the flow direction raster as input for the flow length tool. This created a raster of true distance values corresponding to my cost distance raster.

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