Monday, 10 January 2011

ArcPy : Python scripting in ArcGIS 10

My hands were itching to get hold of newest version of ArcGIS for a really long. Finally, couple of days  back, i got ArcGIS in my aresnal. I am quite excited about it. ArcGIS 10 has introduced a lot more functionality for automation and analysis. The layout has now much elegant look compared to previous version where user can dock different window in sides as well as in bottom and its dock able. That means much more space to work.  The new tools such as split raster and raster mosaic are some of the tool that I wished ESRi had incorporated in its products much earlier.

It comes with numerous new and powerful tools such as ArcPY which provides an interface for a developer to program within the ArcGIS ! Till ArcGIS 9.3, writing python scripting in ArcPY required separate Python IDE. I have played around with ArcPY and i am amazed to see numerous operation it can perform and that too in just few lines of python scripting. Moreover it comes with intelligent window which helps you to complete code with instant help.

Today i will show you, how with simple and few lines, you can start doing geo processing with ArcPY.

The first line in picture imports complete modules which gives access to all the geoprocessing function and properties that are within that. This line is generally a starting line in any python scripting in ArcGIS. ArcGIS also includes other modules such as for spatial analyst, for geostastical analyst and arypy.mapping for mapping.

The second line specifies the workspace where we are going to store our features. The final line creates a buffer around the feature "schools", of 1000 feet and stored with a named with "Buffer_1000". It's easy like that!

You might say, I can do this thing with tools available within in arc catalogue toolbox easily with few clicks, so what this fuss about arcpy and why this arcpy would even needed! You are right! The true power of arcpy comes to play if you want to do a batch processing i.e. repeating same thing numbers of times.

In above case, if I wanted to carry buffer analysis with 1000 and 2000 feet then I have to carry the buffer analysis two times with same parameter only changing buffer distance. Things like this can easily be carried out with arcpy with a loop. The variable, "i" stores distance values which I want to buffer around the feature "schools". The variable "savenames" will generates string such as Buffer_1000 and Buffer_2000.

Here is the final output as viewed in arcgis 10. Notice the dockable windows in the sides of the picuture and python window at the bottom.

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