I am applying a spatial join in ArcGIS between points (target features) and lines (join features). I want to have a 1-to-many join, so I use the match option 'within a distance'. So far so good. The annoying thing is that I need to have the distance between the point and the matched lines within the search radius. I do not find any solution for this. Is there someone who has a good tip for me that will do the trick?

The final goal is that I need to join the points to the line that is nearby, but also has some other characteristics (equal value on some attributes, but also a timestamp that needs to be higher in 1 class than the other which I don't succeed in working with in arcGIS anyway). These kind of data preparation I do afterwards in other tooling. That's why I can't just take the one that is closest...

  • Would you be able to include a graphic to help explain the difference between what Spatial Join is providing you and what you are seeking, please?
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 7:24

1 Answer 1


In your case I would rather use "generate near table" in order to have the N closest lines. you can then apply your decision rules on the resulting table in order to select the points that match best. (remark : only available with advanced licence, unfortunately)

  • Great, thank you! I found the 'near' function, but this was limited to 1-to-1. The 'generate near table' is not. This was not in the license I had, but I got a free trial for a few days and it is exactly what I needed. Thank you very much!
    – Mieke
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 13:20

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