Buffering geographic shapefile points in ArcMap 10

Discussion created by plambert75 on Dec 7, 2011
Latest reply on Dec 8, 2011 by plambert75
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.