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Introducing Geographic Information Systems with ArcGIS: A Workbook Approach to Learning GIS, 3rd Edition by Michael D. Kennedy

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Finding the Closest of Multiple Source Cells

The raster of source cells that serves as input to Euclidean distance may consist of several single cells, clumps of cells (contiguous cells), a linear structure of several cells, or any combination of these. For each cell in the output raster, the straight-line distance to the closest source cell is calculated. This happens automatically. You simply apply the Euclidean distance tool and the newly generated raster contains the closest distances in all the other cells.

Many distance problems involve several source cells instead of a single one. Perhaps you are flying along in your private plane, and because of an ominous new noise coming from the engine, you develop a strong interest in knowing the distance to the closest of several airports in the area. The airports might be recorded as source cells. If you had time to fire up your portable GIS, connected to your GPS, no matter which cell you were in, the distance to the closest airport would be shown.

Another example: Suppose that you have a neighborhood of houses that need to be connected to a power line. The power line is represented as a line of source cells; houses are built on other cells. You want to find the shortest distance from each house to the power line, so you can calculate the minimum length of wire required. Also, because of electrical requirements, there is a maximum distance the wire can be strung, so you will also need to identify the cells that are more than that ...

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