The Find Similar Locations tool evaluates the similarity between candidate locations and a reference location based on a set of criteria and ranks the candidate locations from most to least similar.
Example uses of this tool include the following:
- A development company is searching for a location to build a new retirement community. They use the Enrich Layer tool to obtain demographic data for the neighborhoods surrounding their existing, most successful communities. They then use the Find Similar Locations tool to rank their candidate community sites based on their similarity to the demographic characteristics of their existing, successful communities.
- Local officials want to entice businesses to expand to their city. They gather information (for example, crime rate, growth rate, and population demographics) on the cities where the businesses currently exist and on the cities that may be competitors. They then apply the Find Similar Locations tool to rank their city and competitor cities by similarity to the cities where the businesses currently exist.
The Find Similar Locations tool includes configurations for input features, similarity search settings, and the result layer.
The Input features group includes the following parameters:
- Reference locations layer is the point, line, or polygon layer that contains the reference locations that will be matched. If the layer includes multiple locations, all the locations will be averaged to create a single reference location.
- Search candidates layer is the point, line, or polygon layer that contains the search candidate locations. Each search candidate location will be compared to the reference location by the specified search criteria and ranked from most to least similar.
Similarity search settings
The Similarity search settings group includes the following parameters:
- Search criteria specifies the numeric fields that will be used to evaluate the similarity between the reference location and each search candidate location. Similarity is based on the field values. Each set of fields is first standardized. Then the candidate location value is subtracted from the target location value and squared. The sum of all the squared differences for a candidate location becomes the similarity index for that candidate location. The candidate locations are then ranked by their similarity index from smallest, most similar, to largest, least similar. The following options are available:
- Field from reference layer—The field in the reference locations layer that corresponds to the field in the search candidates layer specified by Field from candidate layer. The values in these matched fields will be compared to evaluate the similarity between the reference location and each search candidate location.
- Field from candidate layer—The field in the search candidates layer that corresponds to the field in the reference locations layer specified by Field from reference layer. The values in these matched fields will be compared to evaluate the similarity between the reference location and each search candidate location.
- Return all results specifies whether all the locations in the search candidate layer will be included in the output layer.
- Number of locations returned specifies the number of most similar locations in the search candidate layer that will be included in the output layer.
The Result layer group includes the following parameters:
- Output name determines the name of the layer that is created and added to the map. The name must be unique. If a layer with the same name already exists in your organization, the tool will fail and you will be prompted to use a different name.
- Save in folder specifies the name of a folder in My Content where the result will be saved.
The reference locations layer and the search candidates layer must be separate layers. If a single layer contains both the reference locations and the search candidate locations, duplicate the layer and apply a filter. First, apply a filter on the original layer to remove all the search candidate locations from that layer. Then, apply a filter on the duplicate layer to remove all the reference locations from that layer.
Analysis environment settings are additional parameters that affect a tool's results. You can access the tool's analysis environment settings from the Environment settings parameter group.
This tool honors the following analysis environments:
The tool outputs a layer with the specified number of most similar search candidate locations. The layer contains fields showing the Similarity Index and the Similarity Rank. The Similarity Rank is the order of the search candidate locations from most to least similar.
You can view additional details about the analysis on the output layer's item page. To access the layer's item page, click Analysis on the Settings toolbar. Click History, and find and click the successful tool run. The analysis details will open on the Results tab. Click the options button next to the output layer, and click Open item details.
This tool requires the following licensing and configurations:
- Creator or GIS Professional user type
- Publisher or Administrator role, or an equivalent custom role
Use the following resources to learn more: