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Add Direction to the Measure Tool

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  • The Measure tool presently allows the calculation of distance between features (with snapping). It would be helpful if the Direction / Angle / Azimuth was also shown. .
    - The Near Tool modifies my shapefile, which I don't want and is unnecessary for such a simple calculation
    - The COGO Report tool runs directions counter-clockwise (which is crazy in my opinion). The Ground Correction ability is great, but doesn't correct the fact that the compass is backwards!
    - Military Analyst will measure direction between locations but doesn't snap to existing features - I need to enter the coords. This is unnecessary in Arc10.
    If implemented, please use North as the 0° (like Mil Analyst), not East (like the Near tool)
    The image below shows what it could look like.
    Measure tool example
    I know there is already an enhancement of this type suggested, but it appears to be squashed with the mention of COGO. Unfortunately, COGO doesn't solve this request because it runs the compass counter-clockwise.
    Tags :
     direction, angle, azimuth, bearing, distance, measure, near, military, cogo, 3d mesurements
    Posted by   cbouchar  to ArcGIS DesktopDefense and IntelligenceArcGIS Desktop Extensions Nov 4, 2010

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Comments (24)

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Feb 13, 2014
I have been able to use the MeasureAngle tool for 9x in 10x on both a Windows 7 and a Windows 8.1 computer in ArcMap 10.2.1.  It is available on the old Arcscripts site:

Adding it is simple, using the customize add from file.  Windows normally blocks it ("No objects added") but to get around that I've either turned off the UAC to add it and then turned the UAC back on (Windows 7) or run ArcMap as an administrator (right click on the shortcut) just to install it.  But I do find it hard to believe this isn't part of the ArcMap measure tool; direction is such an elementary part of GIS and all I want to do sometimes is just see the direction I get if I draw a line so I can apply a rotation or do something else.

This tool would make my life much easier.  Many of ESRI's competitors have it, I'm surprised they haven't implemented it yet.  Angles/bearings/azimuths are a key to many GIS applications.  

Aug 4, 2013
Chris Fox - Any thoughts on whether this is going to be resolved any time soon?

Jul 9, 2013
In 2011 Chris Fox said that ESRI saw the value in adding this feature. That's graet. Howevre since then 10.1 has come and is about to go with 10.2 due and the feature has not been added or even considered for inclusion. Clearly the value isn't so great.

Personally I get around it by using the reporting tool in COGO tools but it's not as simple as here's point A, here's point B, tell me the angle between the two. In this case there would be an invisiable point C, which unless you modified it as a user, would be standard baseline ArcMap uses. This being the same as the base line used by the direction tool.

Apr 13, 2013
It really is hard to imagine that in an expensive, complex geographic software package like ArcGIS that this simple feature is missing. The program is rich with esoteric yet useful features. Here is a basic tool that would fulfill a basic and common need for many. It is just crazy that this is missing and not even listed in the considered collection.

Nov 30, 2012
Yes, please do this. Often a simple measurement of bearing/distance is requested and one has to go to great effort to get the information. I used to just draw a line with the drawing tool and it would give me distance and bearing, but that feature is gone now.

Nov 19, 2012
I would really like to to see an implementation of such a tool

Oct 25, 2012
Robert Scheitlin where are you? He wrote snap measure 10 years ago for 8x/9x (still in ArcScripts) and it became a valuable tool for us. I thought Esri might've finally put it in at 10 or 10.1 but it wasn't to be. And that such a simple feature is still not "under consideration" in ArcGIS Ideas is ludicrous!

Aug 30, 2012
It is entirely mad that after 40 years of GISsing around ESRI has still not implemented one of the two most basic measurements one wants to get out of a map...distance and DIRECTION!

Apr 26, 2012
One additional upgrade suggestion:  display delta_x and delta_y.

Jan 6, 2012
one should also be able to measure along a line, for example along a river or coastline.

Aug 7, 2011

I agree completely.  This would be a very nice addition. 

Jun 27, 2011

measuring the angle between two lines would be great. it's a real basic function that's included by default in CAD should be in ArcGIS and shouldn't have to be in an edit session to run it. i like the idea of adding the funciton to the standard measure tool set.

May 13, 2011
I would even ask that you add the start and end azimuths of a fan from a specific point (in both ArcMap and ArcGlobe - since both of these tools take Azimuths as an input to some of the GP Tools) within the Area Measure tool.  I would want to see the Az value for both points (see arrows below) in this window...

User-added image

Apr 22, 2011
 My mind reels everytime I'm asked to measure a direction, only to discover I can't. 

Apr 13, 2011
I agree that this would be great basic functionality - currently I have to start editing a line feature layer and draw a line to get the angle/bearing of the line.

Mar 17, 2011
Please possibility measuring angle to both Grid North /or True North

Feb 3, 2011
Thank you for all the enthusiasm for this idea and we definetly see the value in adding this functionality. I just wanted to add to this idea that the Cogo tools utilize the options set from the Editor Toolbar > Options > Units tab under Angular Units. The direction type Polar runs counter clockwise as indicated in the original post, but you can change this by selecting a different Direction Type. Check out the help document below for more details about direction measuring systems and units:

Jan 21, 2011
I have been asking for this measure angle feature to be added for several years. This is one of the most basic of geographic measurement tools and it is crazy that we can't do it in ArcGIS!

Jan 11, 2011
 I have wished for this for years and years.

Nov 15, 2010

Nov 15, 2010
This would make my life a lot easier!

Nov 4, 2010
this would be very helpful. I would us it a lot



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