I am trying to figure out how to make survey lines within a polygon.

So first I make a polygon. Now I need to fill this polygon with lines, where I can choose the spacing between the lines, and the angle of the lines. All the lines have the same angle and spacing.

I am trying to do it in QGIS, but I also have ArcGIS for Desktop.

Does anybody have an idea of how to do this?

1 Answer 1


You can accomplish this in ArcGIS using the following approach:

  1. Select the polygon/s of interest.
  2. Create Fishnet using the input polygons as the extent. Here, I specified 1 row and 20 columns (fishnet output is in red). You have a lot of control in this tool to determine the exact spacing you want between lines. Make sure to increase the extent of the fishnet so that it covers your input polygon when rotated.
  3. Use the editor tool bar (Figure 2) to rotate the fishnet. Make sure an editing session is active and you have selected the fishnet for the rotate tool to work. Note, that if you select the rotate button and then press "A", you can specify the exact angle you want.
  4. Use Clip to clip the fishnet to the input polygon's geometry.

enter image description here

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  • I must not be following the last few steps. If you first clip and then rotate, you haven't any hope that the rotated lines will fit precisely within the polygon unless it's the circle you have used in the illustration; and if you rotate both the lines and the polygon, then you wind up with a rotated polygon, not the original. Isn't there any way to specify an angle using this tool? If not, it sounds like you first have to counter-rotate the polygon, generate and clip vertical (or horizontal) lines, then rotate the whole mess together.
    – whuber
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 5:19
  • Nice. I can do this i Qgis too, just not the rotating but yet. But I will figure it out. I also want to make lines perpendicular to a polyline. So when the polyline changes direction, the lines also changes direction. Is there any good way to do that? And thanks for the help.
    – Toke
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 6:10
  • 1
    @whuber, note to self: avoid using circles in rotation examples. I've edited the post to correct the error you caught--thanks.
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 13:03
  • 1
    @Toke, I recommend posting another question about the perpendicular lines issue.
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 13:26
  • 1
    You can set the fishnet/grid at an angle in the Create Fishnet tool in ArcGIS, although rather than having an angle parameter, you set the y_axis_coord.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 18:15

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