I have a layer containing a few hundred points representing a survey track. The points are laid out in chronological order in the corresponding attribute table.

How can I have ArcMap 10 automatically "connect the dots" so that I essentially turn the points into a polyline representation of my survey track?


BTW, is there a way for me to specify a few of those points for ArcMap to IGNORE when it makes the polyline?

  • does it need to weed out noise? (points collected while the receiver was parked at same location). – Kirk Kuykendall Apr 18 '11 at 19:02
  • @Kirk Kuykendall: Not really. However, there are a few extra point near the beginning and end of the track that I'd like to leave out if possible. – hpy Apr 18 '11 at 19:32
  • Im working on looking at TMC's of major routes and i have the lats and longs of the starting and ending points, i know how to export txt file into shp file but when i try to do point to line from data management tool im running into an error. Could you guys please help me? and also if the answer is with that python sample coding could you please help me how to use it thank you very much – user3133 May 27 '11 at 17:35
  • You should create a new question for your question. You have submitted a answer to "How to connect points with a polyline in ArcMap 10", question. This may help you get the help you need better. – artwork21 May 27 '11 at 17:59
  • If you have a new question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button. Include a link to this question if it helps provide context. – Kevin Sep 30 '15 at 17:46

I just did a quick Google search ("join points in ESRI") and got a hit. You'll have to do the read up yourself, but at a glance. It looks to me like it will do the trick. Here ya go:

Points to lines

As for ignoring points, just make a seperate file and delete the points you want to ignore before you run the script. You'll still have them in the original file that way.

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Almost the same answer as Dano - his post references the one on ArcScripts. It was such a popular download this tool is included in the toolbox at 10.0

Points to Line: http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#//00170000003s000000.htm

And you asked about doing an ignore.... just use a selection set of the points you actually want. The tool will connect based on a field (if you choose) only your selected points.

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DNR Garmin can be used to do this sort of task if your points are in order, simply by importing a point shapefile and resaving as a polyline (track) file. DNR Garmin link

EDIT I should add that you can import points (or waypoints) in a variety of formats and export to polylines (tracks) or polygons using this program. It is integrated for ArcMap 9.3 or less and a promise that a version for ArcMap 10 is due this spring.

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Use Points To Line (Data Management)

You can ignore points using the Line Field option, specifically using a value in one field to calculate the line. So, for the points you want, add an arbritary value, and another for ones you don't want, and then sort on that:

# Name: PointsToLine_Example2.py
# Description: Convert point features into line features
# Author: ESRI

# Import system modules
import arcpy
from arcpy import env

# Set environment settings
env.workspace = "C:/data"

# Set local variables

inFeatures = "calibration_points.shp"

outFeatures = "C:/output/output.gdb/out_lines"

lineField = "ROUTE1"

sortField = "MEASURE"

# Execute PointsToLine 
arcpy.PointsToLine_management(inFeatures, outFeatures, lineField, sortField)

That should work.

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When using the Point to Line script tool, be sure to first add the following fields if you don't already have something similar set up: Segment (or similarly named): to identify each segment; and Order_ (or similarly named - don't use "Order" as this is a reserved word): to count, in order, the points pertaining to a segment. Make both fields text with max 10 characters. Go through the map and identify segments (start at 01) and then identify the order of the points (001, 002, etc.; kind of like "connect the dots"). When using the tool, you can set the "segment" field as the Line option; and set the Order_ field as the point order. If done correctly, this will create line segments which will follow the ordered points along the proper path.

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