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I have a large point file: several thousand. They are all GPS coordinates, recorded at different times, by different people. Many of them have unique data. So, for example, there will be one coordinate with one name, and a different coordinate, 50 meters away, with a different name.

I'd like to select, or otherwise find, all the points in the file that are within a set distance of any other point in the file. So if the distance was 500 meters, then the end result should be a selection of all points that are within 500 meters of another point.

Basically I need to go through the points and decide which one to keep and what data from each one to keep. There is no way to do this programmatically, I have to sort it out manually. But if there is a way to at least programmatically find the ones I need to look at, that would be very helpful.

What is the best way to do this in ArcGIS?

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You can use Point Distance (Analysis) tool to find the distance from each point to the nearest neighbor point. Use search distance of 500 m.

The result is a table with distances between each point to its nearest neighbor point.

Join the table back to your point feature class.

(You need ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced (ArcInfo) license level for Point Distance tool.)

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You have a couple of options you could try. Firstly you could use the select by location to select all the points within a distance of the point you are interested in. This is probably only useful to if you are checking a handful of sites rather than your several thousand.

Select by location

Alternatively you can put a buffer around all of your points to start identifying which are the relevant ones to keep. Using this buffer you can then use the Spatial Join tool so that each polygon has all of the attributes of the points that fall inside it (using the one_to_many option)

Spatial Join Tool

Once you have all the data joined in a single layer it should then be possible to use the location of the point or a common field in the attribute table to start filtering out points and selecting those that you want to keep based on your selection criteria.

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