I have been struggling to figure out how to build a Python script with the following utility using ArcPy for ArcGIS Pro: Taking two user-supplied point feature classes (A and B) and creating a third, polyline feature class C, that contains the lines connecting each point in feature class A to the nearest point in feature class B, while also recording the distance between the points in the layers’ properties table.

I am new to Python programming in this context.

  • Hi, and welcome. Do you have any code at all you can share? If so, please paste it between two triple ticks like this:code
    – auslander
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 17:31
  • Hi there auslander, thank you very much for your readiness to help. I don't even manage to figure out how to even compose the code, not list compose it. Most of my prior work has focused on manipulating existing layers of information
    – B. Emental
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 17:35
  • The code itself is not hard and honestly could be done in ModelBuilder probably more quickly. But the problem needs to be more clearly expressed - would this be a potential one-to-many relationship? Could for example many points in FCA be connected to the same single point in FCB?
    – auslander
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 17:41
  • There are no restrictions on multiple lines using the same point in FCB
    – B. Emental
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 17:45
  • Add geometry attributes xy to A. Apply Near with location. Use Xy to line on A table which will have 2 xy pairs.
    – FelixIP
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


Here's some very rough code that obtained results for me that sound like what you may be looking for. In pseudo code what I am doing is:

  1. set up the environment variables
  2. identify the two feature classes
  3. set up the Near analysis parameters
  4. write the starting and ending x and y to a csv file
  5. use that csv file as input to the XY To Line tool

This assumes a GCS; if you are using local projection/datum you will want to use the PLANAR method in your Near analysis.

import arcpy
import csv
import os

# set up environment
arcpy.env.workspace = "path to your geodatabase or folder"
arcpy.env.overwriteOutput = True
sr = arcpy.SpatialReference(4326)  # WGS84, change as necessary

# get feature classes
fca = "points_a"  # first point feature class
fcb = "points_b"  # second point feature class

# set up Near analysis parameters
location = "LOCATION"
angle = "NO_ANGLE"
method = "GEODESIC"

near_result = arcpy.Near_analysis(fca, fcb, "#", location, angle, method)

# set up csv output
csv_out_file = "to_lines.csv"
csv_out_dir = "C:/Temp"
csv_out = os.path.join(csv_out_dir, csv_out_file)

# prep fields from Near output
fields = ["SHAPE@XY", "NEAR_X", "NEAR_Y"]

# now write the csv
with open(csv_out, "w", newline='') as output:
    c = csv.writer(output)
    c.writerow(["startx", "starty", "endx", "endy"])  # header row
    for r in arcpy.da.SearchCursor(fca, fields):  # read the geoms from Near output
        sx, sy = r[0]
        ex, ey = r[1], r[2]
        row = [sx, sy, ex, ey]

outfc = "closest_lines"  # name of new line feature class

arcpy.XYToLine_management(csv_out, outfc, "startx", "starty", "endx", "endy", spatial_reference=sr)

One thing Esri is well-known for is their extremely thorough documentation. I encourage you not to just copy-paste what I've given you here, but also read up on the documentation for both the Near tool, the XY to Line tool, and the da.SearchCursor class. Good luck!


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