There is no direct tool for that. The process would entail scripting
Perhaps you could elaborate on the purpose for identifying the 'shortest polygon edge'
To add to this, a shape you see as a 'rectangle', may actually be composed of smaller edges that look like 4 edges when you zoom out far enough inside the GIS. (e.g. the computer sees it as a 18 sided polygon, not a rectangle!) The generalise tool can help simplify the shape, but you need to enter tolerances that make sense with your particular data.
Actual Coords (5 sided shape to the computer):
1,1 1,2 2,2 2,1 2.02, 1.02
Human interpreted coords (Shape looks like a rectangle to me as the final vertex added nothing):
1,1 1,2 2,2 2,1
In this example, if I generalise the input data with a 0.05m tolerance, it would clean out the node thats not required as the 0.02 metre deviation has less effect on the shape of the polygon than the 0.05 tolerance.. and is therefore not required.
I have used the code below in the past to find the longest edge of a polygon, but you could rewrite it to find the shortest edge. However, there could be some discussion on what an edge is or how this should be interpreted:
def GetLargestLine(polygon, offset): max_length = 0 prev_pnt = None side = None sr = polygon.spatialReference polygon2 = polygon.generalize(0.1) for part in polygon2: for pnt in part: # print pnt if prev_pnt is None: pass else: if pnt is None: pass else: length = GetDist(pnt, prev_pnt) if length > max_length: max_length = length side = arcpy.Polyline(arcpy.Array([prev_pnt, pnt]), sr) prev_pnt = pnt length = side.length side = side.segmentAlongLine(offset, length-offset, False) return side, length
This was used to generate solar panels on roof tops. See document here (Spanish content):
Hust did a little test to see if it would work and I get a result with this code (it will add fields to the input featureclass, so it's better to run this on a copy of your data):
def main(): # will change the input fc (adding fields!) import arcpy fc = r'C:\GeoNet\ShortestEdge\data.gdb\polygons' generalize = 0.1 # change this value according to the tolerance in your data fc_out = r'C:\GeoNet\ShortestEdge\data.gdb\lines_v01' # output fields fld_len1 = "ShortestLength1" fld_from_pnt1 = "FromPoint1" fld_to_pnt1 = "ToPoint1" fld_len2 = "ShortestLength2" fld_from_pnt2 = "FromPoint2" fld_to_pnt2 = "ToPoint2" # add fields AddField(fc, fld_len1, "DOUBLE", None) AddField(fc, fld_from_pnt1, "TEXT", 100) AddField(fc, fld_to_pnt1, "TEXT", 100) AddField(fc, fld_len2, "DOUBLE", None) AddField(fc, fld_from_pnt2, "TEXT", 100) AddField(fc, fld_to_pnt2, "TEXT", 100) # update cursor feats =  flds = ('SHAPE@', fld_len1, fld_from_pnt1, fld_to_pnt1, fld_len2, fld_from_pnt2, fld_to_pnt2) with arcpy.da.UpdateCursor(fc, flds) as curs: for row in curs: polygon = row length1, from_pnt1, to_pnt1, line1 = GetShortestEdgeData(polygon) feats.append(line1) polygon2 = polygon.generalize(generalize) length2, from_pnt2, to_pnt2, line2 = GetShortestEdgeData(polygon2) feats.append(line2) curs.updateRow((polygon, length1, from_pnt1, to_pnt1, length2, from_pnt2, to_pnt2, )) # write lines to output fc for visual reference arcpy.CopyFeatures_management(feats, fc_out) def AddField(fc, fld_name, fld_type, fld_length): if len(arcpy.ListFields(fc, fld_name)) == 0: arcpy.AddField_management(fc, fld_name, fld_type, None, None, fld_length) def GetShortestEdgeData(polygon): min_length = 99999 prev_pnt = None side = None sr = polygon.spatialReference for part in polygon: for pnt in part: if prev_pnt is None: pass else: if pnt is None: pass else: length = GetDist(pnt, prev_pnt) if length < min_length: min_length = length line = arcpy.Polyline(arcpy.Array([prev_pnt, pnt]), sr) prev_pnt = pnt length = line.length from_pnt = line.firstPoint to_pnt = line.lastPoint return length, str(from_pnt), str(to_pnt), line def GetDist(pnt1, pnt2): import math return math.hypot(pnt2.X - pnt1.X, pnt2.Y - pnt1.Y) if __name__ == '__main__': main()
It will do this on the input polygon and a generalized polygon (set the variable generalize on line 5 with a proper value):
It also creates an output featureclass with the shortest edges.
Thanks everyone for your quick responses and great answers!
Solution is no longer needed (unfortunately), but for curiosity's sake, I was attempting to identify houses with long driveways (right of way access) by finding land parcel shapes with a short perimeter edge to represent a driveway edge. I couldn't find any other data source to indicate these so this is the best solution I could come up with.