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Creating a network database from lines and points

02-14-2017 08:31 AM
New Contributor

Hi guys! I am using ArcGIS 10.4.1. So I'm trying to create a network database using a shapefile of about 1000 lines and a shapefile of about 2000 points. The lines shows a railway-system, and the pointfile shows the stations along the railway. I have tried creating a network database but am failing. I have tried using some tutorials on the basic but am struggling to understand what information is required to create a network that will work in the end. So to start with, what information is basic to be able to create a network database? Which columns are needed? I have information about the length of the lines and locations of the point but not much more. I do not have any information about the time it takes for the trains to move along the lines.

The reason for creating this is to see which stations are passed along certain routes, because I need to remove those routes that go over several stations and only have those that go from one station to another. If there is another tool that can be used for this, that simply takes one point to another and gives an output  of which points are overlapping along the railway, that would be greatly appreciated!

Here is a picture of how the map looks right now:

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2 Replies
MVP Alum

After reading this post and your other one, it sounds like a Network Analyst approach wouldn't be the best way to tackle the problem.  However, that doesn't rule it out, so here's some information on how to use Network Analyst.

Creating a network dataset—Help | ArcGIS for Desktop 

Note that a large portion of running Network Analysis involves data cleanup to match the goals in Network Analysis.  All the lines need to connect to each other at the ends.  If there is any gap, even a tiny one that is difficult to see, and the analysis will fail to see the connection.  Likewise, slight overshoots can cause issues.  Also, while it is not an absolute requirement that the points need to be coincident with the lines, it is highly recommended.  The bottom line is to expect to spend quite a bit of time getting the data into shape before the actual network data set build.  While one can build a network dataset using just shapefiles, using data in a geodatabase allows one to use Topology to detect and resolve connectivity issues. For example, building a geodatabase topology with Rules (like "Must Not Have Dangles") to check connectivity is highly recommended.  Note that you will need to load your source shapefiles into a geodatabase as feature classes in a feature dataset to enable geodatabase topology.

ArcGIS Help 10.1 - Topology

Also, be aware that the Network Analyst extension is an odd beast.  It's not the most intuitive extension to figure out, so it is not surprising that it seems confusing.  Some of the terminology used in the instructions differs from how it is used in the rest of the ESRI GIS world, which is a legacy result from it being originally developed outside ESRI.

Chris Donohue, GISP

New Contributor

Thank you for answering! It has helped me, and I think I will try to solve the issue with the help of another tool or even manually. Learning network analysis on its own seems to take a bit too much time, hopefully I will be able to understand it in the future. 

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