Buffering geographic shapefile points in ArcMap 10

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12-07-2011 10:18 PM
PaulLambert1
New Contributor
I have a geographic shapefile that contains a number of points worldwide that I need to buffer by various radii to find areas at which they overlap. If I use the buffer tool and manually enter the buffer distance (in feet) the radii draw as I'd expect in the geographic data frame (the resulting radii look like ellipses that are more stretched the further you get away from the equator).

If I read a field in the shapefile that specifies the radius around each individual point (in feet) and use this as the buffer distance ArcMap converts this figure to decimal degrees (all of which are the same regardless of how close they are to the equator) and thus displays them as a true circle.

Is there any way to get ArcMap to read the radius field from the shapefile and buffer the points in feet rather than tryin to convert to degrees? I've tried reprojecting the shapefile but I only really get acceptable results in one small area of the world, rather than worldwide.

Thanks for any help you can give.
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2 Replies
PaulLambert1
New Contributor
I have come across all three of those articles, but all of them are dealing with a manually entered linear distance (which works exactly as shown in your first link) rather than setting the value from a field in the shapefile itself.

As an aside, I can't even find the buffer wizard that's used in the 3rd article you linked.
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