This project uses the the opensource Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL) to automate the production of spider-like feature layers extracted from a larger dataset. The GDAL libraries provide a single abstract data model for a large variety of data formats. It also comes with a variety of useful commandline utilities for data translation and processing.
I used the python bindings to develop this commandline tool. While this script is tied to this particular dataset and task, it should be easily modifiable to automate other similar tasks that would otherwise require significant repetitive input from a GIS analyst. These powerful tools are worth checking out.