An overview of the Proximity toolset

One of the most basic questions asked of a GIS is "what's near what?" For example:

The Proximity toolset contains tools that are used to determine the proximity of features within one or more feature classes or between two feature classes. These tools can identify features that are closest to one another or calculate the distances between or around them.

Learn more about proximity analysis in ArcGIS




Creates buffer polygons around input features to a specified distance. An optional dissolve can be performed to combine overlapping buffers.

Create Thiessen Polygons

Creates Thiessen polygons from point input features.

Each Thiessen polygon contains only a single point input feature. Any location within a Thiessen polygon is closer to its associated point than to any other point input feature.

Multiple Ring Buffer

Creates multiple buffers at specified distances around the input features. These buffers can optionally be merged and dissolved using the buffer distance values to create non-overlapping buffers.

Generate Near Table

Determines the distances from each feature in the input features to one or more nearby features in the near features, within the search radius. The results are recorded in the output table.


Determines the distance from each feature in the input features to the nearest feature in the near features, within the search radius.

Point Distance

Determines the distances from input point features to all points in the near features within a specified search radius.

Tools in the Proximity toolset

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