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An overview of Network Analyst

Release 9.3
Last modified March 2, 2010
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The ArcGIS Network Analyst extension allows you to


  1. Build and edit network datasets.
  2. Perform analyses on network datasets.
This extension is composed of a number of parts: a wizard to create a network dataset (in ArcCatalog), a dockable Network Analyst window (in ArcMap), a Network Analyst toolbar (in ArcMap), and a number of geoprocessing tools contained within ArcToolbox.
The Network Dataset wizard guides you through setting up a network dataset, which can be created from a shapefile or feature classes within a feature dataset. This wizard helps you identify the feature classes that will be used as sources and the role they play in the network, specify the connectivity within the network, and identify the network attributes.

Learn more about network sources.
Learn more about connectivity.
Learn more about network attributes.

The Network Analyst window helps you manage input to analysis and results. It displays objects such as barriers, stops, and routes.

Learn more about the Network Analyst window.

The Network Analyst toolbar is a combination of menus and buttons for adding and modifying network locations, generating directions, identifying network features, building networks, and performing analysis on network datasets.

Learn more about the Network Analyst toolbar.

ArcToolbox contains tools to support each of the Network Analyst operations.

Learn more about the Network Analyst Tools toolbox.

The Network Analyst extension also supports the use and creation of layers in ArcMap including the network dataset layer and the network analysis layer. The network dataset layer allows you to display and query the underlying network dataset.

Learn more about the network dataset layer.

The network analysis layer is the layer created through one of the Network Analysis operations. This layer can be used in further analysis within both the ArcMap user interface and the geoprocessing framework. It can also be saved as a permanent layer.

Learn more about the network analysis layer.

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