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How to create circular sectors from table data?

July 29 2011 | 6 comments


I need to create a map layer that contains a large number of features representing mobile phone network cells. The cellsshall have the form of a circular sector (part of circle enclosed by two radii and arc). My input is a table of some kind with several hundret rows (secors) and columns like (not yet fixed) X/Y center of circle, direction of centerline of sector and radius.

I need to find a way to automate the creation of the sectors, but I have no clue, how to accomplish this.

Any input is greatly appreciated!!!

Thank you, Manfred

Mapping Center Answer:

There isn't an out-of-the-box solution to create these features but attached to this reply is a custom built tool (for ArcGIS v10.0 SP2) that creates pie sector features using inputs from a table.  To use the tool, save and unzip the file in a suitable location on your computer.  This will create a toolbox (Sectors) and three directories that contain test data (Tooldata), documentation (Docs) and the scripts (Scripts) for the tool.

To run the tool, navigate to the Sectors toolbox using ArcCatalog in ArcMap, expand the toolbox and then double-click the Geodesic_Sectors tool which opens a dialog box.  You should specify the input table (in dbf format), an output feature class (in a file geodatabase) and the required parameters:

  • longitude, latitude (in decimal degrees) to define the origin of the sector
  • sector bearing (decimal degrees with North as zero) to define the direction of the sector away from the origin
  • sector radius (length in map units) to define the length of the sector
  • sector angle (in decimal degrees) to define the angle of opening or spread of the sector
  • distance units (in map units)

These parameters are defined by selecting the appropriate fields from your input table.

Once you have completed the required parameters, click OK to run the tool which will create the geodesic pie sectors and add them to your Table of Contents.

Let us know how you get on with this solution! We'll be writing a blog entry on Mapping Center that explains the tool in more detail.

no features written in geodatabase posted by e erwenjos on Nov 8 2011 2:07AM
This tool will fill a "capacity gap" if I could get it to work. I run the tool with the required input from the example data >tool runs, no errors and it finishes without having written any data in the gdb.

Any clues to were I can start looking for the solution? (I am running ArcGIS 10, sp3).
no features written in geodatabase posted by e erwenjos on Nov 8 2011 3:15AM
The Python shell says:
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/filepath.../scripts/", line 143, in
TypeError: main () takes exactly 8 arguments (0 given)

Looks to me like it can't read the input variables for some reason. Are there any likely issues with the windows system being a non-US one? Or with the system being located in a say "clean room"-like environment with firewall settings set to "paranoia"/"shoot-first-talk-later"? (hence the warning about personal firewall software and its handling of the connection "IDLE")?
Solution posted by e erwenjos on Nov 8 2011 3:41AM
Alright, here it comes: exit ArcView-mode, enter ArcInfo-mode and presto...

Glad it worked posted by Kenneth Field on Nov 8 2011 3:17PM
Glad you managed to get the tool to work...a simple fix that we'll ensure we document when we write the blog entry accompanying the tool.
ArcInfo Only posted by Peter Villaver on Nov 22 2011 10:56AM
Does this work only for ArcInfo? Any way get it to work in ArcView?
I had the same problem. Nothing gets written in the gdb. Thanks!
Why the tool isn't ArcView posted by Kenneth Field on Dec 1 2011 8:57AM
The geodesic pie tool as built is ArcInfo only because it uses the Feature to Polygon tool that is available at the ArcInfo level. This tool is required to take the many linear features created as input, and combine them to create the sector shapes as polygon features.

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