New ArcMap tools : Points to line

Since delivery of the 10.3 version, there are some
new ArcMap tools available that deserve to be
better known . Here is a
series
of articles regarding their description.

Firstly, we will discuss the “Points to
line” tool,  You,
probably,
 know the procedure for integrating
a
table of points, in text format or Excel, as a layer of
points in Arcmap . If this is
not the case , it will be described a little further in
this article. What is less
known
is
that you can as well incorporate
tables containing rows as series of points, such as GPS routes. Let’s
see for example a bathymetry
layer.   

The
file containing
this
information is an Excel table such as :  

The only difference with a classic
scoreboard it is the
existence of a field ( here Ident) that allows us to
identify the different lines . Therefore
, if it does not exist , our procedure will
create
a
single
line from the first point up until the last one of the table.
By
cons if we have a field with the information
belonging
to a specific line, the procedure will create
an
independent
line for each value of this field.
In
the
above example, a line will be created by
using
the coordinates of lines 2 to 19 (Ident = 0), then a
second
line
by
using the coordinates 20 to 24 (Ident = 1).

Let’s discuss how to do it.

In the first place we have to load the table into Arcmap as a point table following the classical procedure:

Click the Arcmap add data buttom, browse the files to point your Excel
file, double-click to open the sheets and select the one containing the data .

Note : you can use this same procedure by using a
file text csv

In the context menu of the new layer , select DisplayXYdata..

In
the settings window, specify which fields include the X and Y coordinates, and
the coordinate system used .  

You
will get a warning message indicating that the layer does not include an
internal identifier . Click OK

The
event layer in the form of points is displayed .

Let’s go back to the warning message . Perhaps ESRI will think to solve this
problem . But for the time being , the layer created can be displayed but cannot
serve as input of almost no treatment . You will get an error message indicating
that the treatment cannot be performed because of the lack identifier .

Therefore, we have to save our XY events layer as a shapefile or a geodatabase
table:

Right click on the XY Events Layer> Data-> Export Data

The resulting layer including the
internal identifiers, is displayed .

It’s on this layer where we will use the Points to
lines tool of the Toolbox.

Go to Toolbox ->DataManagement->GametoolsEntities-> Pointstolines

Select the input layer and name the output layer.

You have three optional parameters.

If none is filled in , the tool will create a single line , starting
with the first record till the last recording .

If you set a line field field, the tool will create an independent
 line for each value different from this
field.

If you set a field sort field , the table will be first sorted
in function of the values of this field, before building the lines.

The option Close Line , will create automatically a
segment between the first point   and the last point of a line . You can, then,
 use the entities towards
polygons tool and create surfaces from your layer of lines .

The three options can be used jointly or not . In all cases, the order of
execution is :

  • sorting records following the Sort field , if is informed ;
  • creating lines by cutting the Line
    field field, if is informed ;
  • the closure of each line by creating the last point segment – first point

Here is the result of the tool on our example :   

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