Understanding how to find a route
When you want to know how to get somewhere, a map can provide a lot of information. But what about when you want to know the quickest way to get there? Particularly if you're a business that has more than one stop to visit, it's often impossible to choose the most efficient route just by looking at a map.
The Find Route dialog box can help you:
- Find the quickest way to get somewhere or the quickest way to visit several locations.
- Determine the best sequence to visit those stops.
- Make a map showing the quickest travel route.
- Create a list of travel directions to use when driving a route and calculate the approximate driving time.
You can make a list of the stops to be calculated along your route in several ways. Use one of the following methods or a combination of several:
- Pointing and clicking on the map
- Entering the address and ZIP Code of the stop
- Choosing a point layer of stops
- Selecting a point feature or features
- Selecting a point graphic or graphics
To use the Find Route dialog box, click the Find Route button on the Tools toolbar.
The Find Route dialog box
The Find Route dialog box allows you to find routes between stops using a variety of methods. You can find an optimized route, which is the most efficient travel route between the stops you define, or you can find a route from stop to stop based on an order you specify. You can also place barriers on the street network to define where a route cannot travel through.
The Find Route dialog box has four tabs: Stops, Barriers, Directions, and Options.
On the Stops tab, you can define the stops by typing the street address (the Find dialog box is used for this), clicking the map with your mouse pointer, adding them from a point layer, or adding graphic points. You can also change the order of the stops, save stops, load saved stops, and have the route return to a stop upon completion. Each stop can also be assigned a stop duration and a time window, which will affect the driving time when the trip start time is specified in the Options tab.
On the Barriers tab, you can also define the barriers by typing the street address, clicking the map with your mouse pointer, adding them from a point layer, or adding graphic points.
The Directions tab provides a list of the driving directions for the route, as well as an approximate driving time. The directions can be printed or copied to the clipboard to be added to a document. The Directions tab can also be used to zoom to the entire route or to a particular route segment.
The Options tab is where you set both the routing service to find your routes and the address locator that will be used for reverse geocoding when you click the map to add stops or barriers. This is also where you can adjust the options for creating your routes and for displaying the route elements on your map. For instance, you can add a graphic point or callout for each stop or barrier, change the symbolization of the route elements, add routes or stops as layers in the table of contents, choose to use either the quickest or the shortest route, alter the speeds for your route segments, set the trip start time, define network restrictions, and choose to optimize the stop order.
Routing Services and Address Locators
Before calculating a route in the Find Route dialog box, a Routing Service must be defined in the Options tab. The routing service can be a file-based network dataset, an ArcGIS Online routing service, or an ArcGIS Server routing service. Regarding file-based network datasets, the following formats are supported: SDC, shapefile, personal geodatabase, file geodatabase, and SDE.
See the following topics for more information about working with network datasets and ArcGIS Server network analysis services.
Likewise, to use the reverse geocoding functionality offered by the Find Route dialog box with the Name locations added with tool using nearest address option, an address locator must be specified in the Options tab. This can be any file-based address locator supported by ArcGIS, an ArcGIS Online geocoding service, or an ArcGIS Server geocode service.
See the following topics for more information about geocoding in ArcMap and ArcGIS Server geocode services.
The Find Route dialog makes it easy to access the ArcGIS Online routing and geocoding services by providing them in the Routing Service and Choose an address locator drop-down lists in the Options tab. This allows you to calculate high-quality routes in ArcMap even if you don't have access to street data or a network dataset.
Click here for more information about the ArcGIS Online routing and geocoding services.