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Repeating Shapes

Last Modified:   Revision 1.5.152, November 4, 2012

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On-Line Manuals
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
 Repeating Shapes for ArcGIS 9.x  (9.3 MB)

Repeating Shapes for ArcGIS 10.0  (10.5 MB)

Manual in Letter (8.5 x 11) page size

Manual in A4 page size

View and Download Repeating Shapes Poster

Topics:  hexagon, square, rectangle, triangle, repeat, sample, tessellation, array, matrix, lattice, point, systematic, grid, extent

Author:  Jeff Jenness

Wildlife Biologist, GIS Analyst

Jenness Enterprises

3020 N. Schevene Blvd.

Flagstaff, AZ, 86004   USA

(928) 607-4638 

Description:  Researchers and land managers often require a way to systematically divide the landscape into equal-sized portions. Breaking up the landscape this way simplifies monitoring plans, and is an essential step in developing systematic sampling designs.

This tool generates an array of repeating shapes over a user-specified area. These shapes can be hexagons, squares, rectangles, triangles, circles or points, and they can be generated with any directional orientation.

Shapes can be generated over all selected records of a feature theme, over the entire rectangular extent of a theme, over the rectangular extent of all themes in the view, or over the rectangular extent of the display.

For those who have access to ArcView 3.x, this extension can be used in conjunction with the “Random Point Generator” extension ( to generate random points within a systematically divided sampling area. This extension can be used to generate systematic polygons over the landscape, and the “Random Point Generator” extension can then be used to generate random sample points within those polygons.

Output: This extension produces either a point or a polygon feature class and adds it as a theme to the view.


bullet Version 1: August 13, 2006, Initial Release
bullet Version 1.5.107: July 26, 2009:
bulletAdded functions to save to file and personal geodatabases
bulletAdded functions to show progress at various points in the analysis
bulletMultiple minor bug fixes, speed enhancements and modifications
bulletAdded buttons to dialogs to open manual
bulletVersion 1.5.110:  October 30, 2009:
bulletMinor update to clear up an intermittent problem with the report dialog.
bulletVersion 1.5.123: October 24, 2010
bulletMultiple minor bug fixes, speed enhancements and modifications
bulletAdded ArcGIS 10 installation functions
bulletVersion 1.5.131: November 6, 2010
bulletAdded function to generate rectangles.
bulletFixed a bug in which it was clearing the selection of the layer used to determine the extent for the new repeating shapes layer.
bulletVersion 1.5.131: March 14, 2011
bullet Added additional ArcGIS 10 registration instructions to manual to handle Windows 7/Vista and Windows 32-bit/64-bit issues.
bullet Version 1.5.138: August 4, 2011
bullet Corrected an error in the Hexagon Generator code in which it the hexagons were too small if the user had specified the size according to the hexagon diameter. Specifically the code would generate hexagons with an edge size equal to half the hexagon width, rather than half the hexagon diameter.
bullet Added a Tool Version label to the first dialog.
bullet Version 1.5.141: January 16, 2012
bullet Corrected a bug in which the “With respect to Selected Features” option would result in a new feature class which covered the entire rectangular extent of the selected features.
bullet Version 1.5.147: February 20, 2012
bullet Corrected a bug in which it was reporting some intermediate variables in message boxes. These were debugging messages intended for the author, and not intended for the online version.
bullet This version also replaces an outdated version of the DLL which somehow got on the website.
bullet Version 1.5.151: August 13, 2012
bullet Fixed an error in which the progress meter report textbox would get too much text, triggering an “Invalid Property Value” error. This revision uses a RichTextBox control instead of a TextBox control.
bullet Version 1.5.152: November 4, 2012
bullet Fixed an error that caused a crash when the tool encountered a feature layer without a feature class.

Recommended Citation Format: For those who wish to cite this extension, the author recommends something similar to:

Jenness, J. 2012. Repeating shapes for ArcGIS. Jenness Enterprises. Available at:

Current Citation List (from Google Scholar):

bullet Repeating Shapes

Requires:  ArcView 9.x or ArcView 10 (will also work at ArcEditor and ArcInfo license levels).

Acknowledgments: Jenness Enterprises gratefully acknowledges the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for supporting portions of this extension.

For detailed installation and operations instructions, view the on-line PDF version of Repeating Shapes Manual         

Enjoy! Please contact the author if you have problems or find bugs.

            Jeff Jenness                            

            Jenness Enterprises                

            3020 N. Schevene Blvd.                     (928) 607-4638

            Flagstaff, AZ  86004


Please visit Jenness Enterprises ArcGIS Tools site for more ArcGIS tools and other software by the author. We also offer GIS consultation services for both ArcGIS and ArcView 3.x to help you meet your specific data analysis and application development needs.