In a previous blog I mentioned how ArcGIS Pro did not have the functionality to create geodesic lines. Well there is an add-in available for that now and it can be used in ArcGIS Pro 1.4 – 2.0 as well as in ArcMap and ArcGIS Web AppBuilder.

It is free and available to download as the Distance and Direction add-in.

For ArcGIS Pro 2.0 after downloading and installing the ESRI ADDInX File open the application and there you will find under the Add-in tab the Distance and Direction tool.

Distance and Direction Add-in.


The tool itself operates through a Pane and draws graphics that adhere to the coordinate reference system of the map in question. These graphics can be exported as features.

In a similar fashion to the Advanced Editing tools of ArcGIS Desktop the Add-in allows for the creation of Loxodromes, Geodesics and Ellipses.

Constructing a geodesic line.

By utilising additional tools like snapping and clipping (e.g. clipping areas to the coastline) a map was created of the UK Shipping Forecast areas.

This was created by firstly building a feature class of  coordinates where area boundaries met. With that data adjoining lines were constructed according to the appropriate type. To ensure everything was created correctly, and visually verifiable (e.g. a line follows a line of longitude), the lines were built when displayed in a geographic coordinate system. That way lines of longitude and latitude lie of right angles to each other.

Geodesic Lines Created in a Geographic Coordinate System to make the UK Shipping Forecast Areas.

After construction the data is then displayed in an appropriate projection.

Geodesic lines that show as straight in the geographic coordinate system now ‘bend’ according to the Earths curvature in the projected coordinate system. This ‘bending’ can be visualised in the most western line.

The UK Shipping Forecast projected into ETRS89 UTM Zone 30N.

So there you go Geodetic, Loxodrome and Elliptic lines can be created in ArcGIS Pro.