ArcGIS Pro

In ArcGIS Pro 3.1, the Points To Line tool has more options for you!

Approximate Reading Time: 7 Minutes

The Points To Line geoprocessing tool creates line features from point data. The tool constructs lines by identifying points that share a unique value specified in the Line Field. The points with shared values are connected sequentially based on attributes specified in the Sort Field. You can think of Points to Line like a game of connect-the-dots!

Line Field and Sort Field illustration
Points to Line tool illustration of the Line Field (A and B) and Sort Field (integers 1-8).

In ArcGIS Pro 3.1, three parameters were introduced to the Points to Line tool to provide more control over how output lines are constructed and add the ability to transfer attributes from the input points to the output lines.

Line Construction Method Illustration
Points to Line tool illustration of the Line Construction Method
Three new parameters in the Points to Line tool
Three new parameters in the Points to Line tool

Let’s take a closer look at the new parameters with an example.

Example: Bus Routes in Charlotte, NC

The following example uses bus stop data from the City of Charlotte, NC. Using the Points to Line tool we will create a line that connects 14 bus stops from the city’s Transportation Center to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Bus Route 5 with 14 stops
Bus Route 5 with 14 stops from the transportation center to the airport

In the Points to Line geoprocessing tool:

(1) Select the Route_5 points for the Input Features

(2) Specify the Output Feature Class or leave the default

(3) Leave the Line Field blank. This will connect all points regardless of their attributes.

(4) Use the Stop Number for the Sort Field

(5) Leave the Close Line parameter unchecked

 

Points to Line geoprocessing tool with steps
Points to Line geoprocessing tool

Line Construction Method

We will use the Line Construction Method parameter to determine the structure of the output line features. The parameter options include two types of line features, Construct continuous line and Construct two-point line.

Construct Continuous Line

First, suppose we want to create one continuous line feature from the first to the last point.

(6) Choose Construct continuous line for the Line Construction Method

(7) Specify the Attribute Source parameter as None for now; we will review how to transfer attributes in the next section

Line Construction Method and Attribute Source
Line Construction Method–Construct continuous line, and Attribute Source– None

The resulting output contains one continuous line feature from the transit center to the airport.

Note: This tool does not construct lines along any underlying transportation network; it only makes straight-line connections between the provided input points.

Output for a continuous Line Construction Method
Output for a continuous Line Construction Method

Construct Two-Point Line

We can also choose the Construct two-point line option for the Line Construction Method parameter. This creates 13 output line features where each line feature is a connection between 2 sequential bus stops.

Output for a two-point line construction method
Output for a two-point line construction method. Each line feature is represented by a different color.

Attribute Source And Transfer Fields

The Attribute Source parameter includes four options to determine if or how the attributes transfer from the input points to the output lines.

The Transfer Fields parameter allows you to select which attribute fields will transfer from the input points.

Next, we will use these parameters to transfer several attributes from each line’s start and end points.

(8) Choose Construct two-point line for the Line Construction Method

(9) Choose Both start and end points for the Attribute Source

(10) Select the Stop Number and Stop description for the Transfer Fields

Attribute Source and Transfer Fields parameters
Attribute Source and Transfer Fields parameters

After running the tool, the output line’s attribute table contains fields with the prefix START_ and END_ for each transferred field.

output line and attribute table
The output line's attribute table with transferred attributes.

Summary

The Points to Line geoprocessing tool creates lines from points, and in ArcGIS Pro 3.1, the tool has been enhanced with three new parameters. Use these parameters to specify how the tool constructs lines, as a continuous line or two-point lines, and to transfer attributes from the input points to the output lines.

These enhancements make the tool even more capable of being used in various workflows, and we’re excited to hear from you about how you will use these new capabilities!

About the author

Margaret is a Product Engineer on the Geoprocessing team. Her passion for GIS began with her interest in human-environmental relationships, and her graduate studies utilized spatial analysis to study the growing impact of flood-induced cascading disasters caused by sea level rise. Margaret leverages her foundation in research methodologies and spatial analysis techniques in her role at Esri, where she creates written content and demonstrations on technical concepts and functions in ArcGIS Pro. She also contributes to refining and redesigning geoprocessing tools and functions with additional capabilities and improved usability. In her personal life, Margaret is a loving cat parent to three cats, and enjoys swimming and snowboarding.

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