Arcpy as a standalone library for Python and a package for R

a month ago
Status: Open
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New Contributor III

I have a request that the arcpy module of ArcGIS should be made available as a standalone library on Python that could work independently of ArcGIS. 

  1. This would mean that users can use Arcpy in any IDE such as Conda or Jupyter. Just to connect Conda with Arcpy, there is a whole process of creating an environment in Python. 
  2. Users won't have to worry to fill checks that whether the correct ArcGIS/Pro is installed or not.
  3. I mean yes you have the Python window in Arc but it's very basic.
  4. The reason why I mention R is that users who are more familiar with R can use arpy in R. 
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And would the pricing be the same as for ArcGIS Pro?

ArcPy is nothing without ArcGIS, since ArcPy is mostly just a wrapper for ArcGIS compiled code.  By the time you install all compiled code behind ArcPy and setup a licensing framework, you have a vast majority of the application already installed.

Currently, IDEs aren't really a limiting issue with ArcPy.  As Dan P. has pointed out in other GeoNet threads, if anything is limiting with ArcPy it is the version of Python being stuck on 3.6.

It is clear there is some frustration for you working with R and ArcPy, but I can't imagine Esri going down this path in the near- to mid-term and likely never.

Since I am a student, and we have to rely on college's license to use ESRI products, so I would suggest the library should part of the ArcGIS license, so that no extra amount has to be paid, or probably make it affordable. I really don't know, I guess it varies from client to client. But I can tell you one thing, for example, my college due to its own financial issues won't be interested to pay for the library for the students. They might just tell the students, well arcpy is available in ArcMap/Pro, then just use that software. I can suggest that once a user installs ArcMap/Pro, the user can be provided a unique URL to download from a channel and install the library on any IDE.

Not sure if it is available in your area/country, but I suggest looking into ArcGIS for Student Use.  Given the retail pricing of the software, the Personal Use and Student Use programs are inexpensive, and having your own license would give you some independence from decisions your college is making regarding Esri licensing.

@SaadBalochas Joshua has mentioned, ArcPy ultimately calls into ArcObjects to do its work, which lives inside of ArcMap / ArcGIS Pro. It is not a standalone library in the same sense that other packages you may download through Python are. If you do have ArcMap or Pro installed and want to work with R, the R-ArcGIS bridge will work for those purposes:

If you need something that works without having our desktop software installed, try installing the ArcGIS API for Python -- that can work independently of the rest of our software locally.

Cheers, Shaun