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How Central Feature (Spatial Statistics) works

Release 9.2
Last modified January 9, 2009
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The Central Feature tool identifies the most centrally located feature in a point, line, or polygon feature class. Distances from each feature centroid to every other feature centroid in the dataset are calculated and summed. Then the feature associated with the shortest accumulative distance to all other features (weighted if a weight is specified) is selected and copied to a newly created output feature class.

Potential applications

For example, if you wanted to build a performing arts center, you could calculate the central feature of a block group feature class weighted by population to identify the part of the town is accessible to the most people in the region and make it a top candidate. The Central Feature tool is useful for finding the center when there is travel between the features and the center.


The Central Feature tool creates a new feature class containing the most centrally located feature. The following illustration identifies the most centrally located distribution warehouse.

Central feature

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