I know ArcPy allows you to access geometries directly using the CopyFeatures_management method. Note in their code sample for the Geometry object, it is very simple to copy the geometries to in-memory objects of type Geometry (and extremely fast). The geometry object of course relates to the geometry/shape and completely bypasses attribute information.

My question is whether there is a way to identify the OID of each geometry cheaply?

A little background in what I am trying to perform:

  1. For all feature classes in a geodatabase
  2. Read through each feature's geometry
  3. Go over the points in the geometry
  4. Calculate the distances between the points
  5. If the distance is below a threshold, that specific feature needs to marked for review (meaning I need either the OID/FID or any other field to identify it).

As I am still in ArcGIS 10.0, I would prefer to not use cursors that seem to work a lot slower than simply dealing with the geometries.

  • Can you tell us why you are doing this? Presumably you are looking to remove excess vertices or simplify polygons.
    – blah238
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 21:40
  • Also when you say "If the distance is below a threshold", is "the distance" ANY of the distances between any consecutive pair of vertices, a sum of all of the distances (perimeter) or some other measurement?
    – blah238
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 21:44
  • How are you currently looping over each feature in a feature class other than with a cursor?
    – blah238
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 21:46
  • Presuming you ARE currently using a cursor, have you tried specifying just the SHAPE and OBJECTID fields for the cursor's fields argument?
    – blah238
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 21:47
  • 1
    @blah238 Let me try and answer all your questions. 1) I am trying to remove excess vertices. Visually, I noticed ~300 vertices following a (visually straight) road of ~100 feet length (this seems excessive). 2) The distance below a threshold is the distance between two consecutive vertices (pnt1 to pnt2, pnt2 to pnt3, etc). 3) Right now I am looping only through the geometries by using a geometry list (see the example in the Geometry link above). 4) I am not using a cursor, as even a cursor with simply SHAPE and OID attributes is extremely slow compared with the geometry method alone. Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


You can't determine the OID directly from the geometry object, it doesn't know anything about it. The row object in a cursor has that field, just use row.OID in your cursor.

You probably want to just Generate a Near Table and then Select by Attributes on the new table against the distance field to find geometries that are too close ([]NEAR_DIST] < X). Once you've run select by attributes you can use a cursor to iterate over only the OIDs that matter:

oids = set()
for row in arcpy.SearchCursor(r'in_memory\new_near_table'):

And from there you can select by attributes on the original table:

arcpy.management.SelectLayerByAttribute("original_lyr", "NEW_SELECTION", 'OID in (%s)' % (', '.join(str(oid) for oid in sorted(oids))))
  • Thank you for the answer, but I am trying to avoid using cursors to solve this problem as they are extremely slow in 10. A Near Table would work if the FCs where points, these are all polygons though. Perhaps a polygon to point, and then Near would do the trick though. Thanks! Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 19:07
  • The near tools work on every geometry type, not just points. Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 19:31
  • They do work on every geometry type, but if I run a Near Tool on a polygon it will not report back the distances between each vertex in the polygon. Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 19:38

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