Creating points in a random direction/distance from another set of points?

09-13-2020 04:21 PM
New Contributor

I have a dataset of bird nests located around the US. I've got around 280 nest locations all as points in one feature class in ArcGIS Pro.

For some statistical analyses I want to run, I need to create additional points (Psuedo-Absence locations where the birds aren't nesting) equal to the total number of nests I currently have. To make these, I'd like to generate a new point out and away from each of the nest points in a random direction and for a random distance (within a set range of meters), ending with a total set of 560 points.

I've looked around at the various point tools, but I don't see anything that does what I'm looking for. Most of the tools I've found just generate points randomly from the dataset, but I need them generated within a specific range of conditions. Could someone help point me in the right direction? I am also not well versed in ArcGIS coding.

Thank you

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Esri Contributor

Have you come across this tool on Creating Random Points? This tool has inputs where you can set the total number of points you want (280) and let it do its thing. If you want to restrict it to putting points down in some general area, then you can create a polygon from that area of interest and input it as the constraining extent. 

You could also pull this tool in to Model Builder and add some additional tools to achieve the workflow you're looking for.

For example, here are some observations (or "nests") as black hexagons:


I take these and use them as an input for a buffer (set to output a single polygon) and then run random points using that buffer as my extent constraint. Here is a picture of what the model might look like:


When this model is run, you would get an output of random points, shown here in green against my original "nests" layer in black hexagons:


Can you elaborate on what you mean by "a specific range of conditions"? 

Hope this helps!