Need absolute path names in Pro

09-25-2019 12:56 PM
Status: Open
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New Contributor II

ArcGIS Pro should have the option to use absolute path names. In ArcMap, we can choose between absolute and relative. We should have that same choice in Pro.

A key reason to allow absolute path names is to facilitate a use mode involving many projects accessing the same data. In turn, this may be motivated by preferring to have a very large and relatively stable geospatial data system that is independent of the projects that are using it (and/or independent of the users that are using it; and/or independent of the software that is using it). It may also be motivated by needing to work on so many (100-1000) projects that even a small amount of common data between projects would lead to large amounts of wasted storage space duplicating the same data.

Not everyone works this way. But enough of us do that it should be an option. I teach Arc to college students; I use it in research; I've probably created 300 MXDs in my preferred use mode, which relies on absolute path names.

It's fine if relative paths are the default. But they should not be the *only* option.

None of the existing workaround are wholly satisfactory. Using "Save As" and moving folder references from within Pro is cumbersome and only solves half the problem. Using separate drives for data and projects is too restrictive. Scripts to convert relative to absolute paths would be cumbersome.


Fred Watson‌ and others who have up voted this, can you provide some examples of paths you're using in your projects - for folder connections, databases, etc?  Are you connecting to mapped network drives with drive letters, or UNC paths?  Are you and your students moving project files across different machines and/or different drives?


Sure, Kory Kramer. Here's a path to a file that I use in a lot of projects:


C:\f\dat\ is a ~1TB geospatial data collection organized in a geographic hierarchy.
The file I've indicated here is a 4 GB aerial photo mosaic.

The common use case that fails under relative paths is when moving projects between folders in a drive. This is a very common use case for us.


we use UNC path and it works very well.


Robert Borchert‌ - Can you use UNC paths to emulate the absolute-path example I posted above?


It's a hassle to have to worry about re-pathing everything just because the project file got moved on disk, absolute paths (or the option to use absolute/relative) would address this.


The simple answer here is that newer, supposedly improved software applications to which we are being encouraged (read: forced) to migrate should be as or MORE functional than the older platforms they purport to replace.

ArcMap allowed the user to specify which was more appropriate in any given situation: absolute or relative paths.

ArcGIS Pro removed that choice and with that change reduced functionality.

It's not the only place that happened in Pro, just one of many examples.


@PatIampietro  Totally agree with you.  If I had functionality in ArcMap that I can not emulate in Arc Pro without effecting major changes, it is difficult to call this progress.  As far as you know, have there been any updates on this subject?