I have two data sets, one is a set of points and the other is a set of lines. I am trying to run the 'near' tool to find the distance between each point and the closest line and have that distance be displayed in the attribute table. (I am currently using the WGS 84 Projection) When I run the tool, the distance is displayed in my attribute but I am unclear as to what units the distance is being shown in. enter image description here

You can see here, the parameters I entered for the tool and in the attribute table, you can see the Near FID and Near Distance. The problem I am running into is when I try to check that distance with the measure tool, I get a result that isn't remotely close to the distance the near tool gave me. I have tried changing units on the measure tool to meters, KM, miles, and feet and nothing comes close. I am not sure what units the Near_Dist attribute is in. If you have any advice on how to figure out what unit the Near_Dist attribute is in or how to get the 'near' tool to give an output in a more comprehendible unit please let me know!

1 Answer 1


The default linear measure for WGS84 is meters, and you can find that in the Data Frame Properties under Coordinate System. However your join measurement is being computed Geodesically, as you have selected on the UI control.

When you use the near tool, you will get a non-geodesic measure in the units of your project....which should probably be meters too.

The difference should be the chord length versus Great Arc length along the WGS84 spheroid. The distances computed by the Join should always be larger than the near tool displays.

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