If you're new to ArcGIS software and want to start exploring its many powerful capabilities for mapping, analytics, data management, and more, we have plenty of free resources to help you get started. Explore our top 3 introductory web courses: GIS Basics, ArcGIS Pro Basics, and ArcGIS Online Basics.
If you are eagerly awaiting to attend one of Esri’s instructor-led online classes, here’s a list of ten tips to help you get ready. Follow these best practices and you will be well on your way to having an excellent learning experience.
The difference between relates (often called table relates) and relationship classes is a source of much confusion, especially for new ArcGIS users. Though they sound similar, the terms refer to different things. Both have benefits and there are reasons to use each one. Here are the main things to know.
Exam releases are purposely timed to occur several months after a software release. After all, earning a technical certification requires significant hands-on experience with the technology. Sometimes the timing of an exam release and a software release poses a challenge. For example, ArcGIS Pro 2.0 was released just as we were releasing ArcGIS Desktop 10.5 exams, which measure ArcGIS Pro 1.4 proficiency. When preparing for an exam, it's important to review the software applications and versions that will be tested—you want to be sure your preparation work is focused on the right content.
The help documentation is a popular resource for individuals preparing to take a certification exam. ArcMap help documentation is available both offline and online. For version 1.4, ArcGIS Pro documentation is available offline using the help files that are installed with the product. Many of the help topics in the ArcGIS Pro 2.0 documentation apply to 1.4 as well, but of course there have been changes between the releases, including the renaming of the Project pane to the Catalog pane.
Developing a certification exam is a rigorous, months-long process that involves subject matter technical experts, psychometricians, and others. The group spends long hours in discussions (and debate) to ensure that every single question is accurate, valid, and directly aligns with the skills measured by the exam. Passing a certification exam is a significant accomplishment that has intrinsic professional and personal benefits. Are you ready to demonstrate your ArcGIS expertise?
Microsoft Excel is a popular format for storing and analyzing tabular data. While you can't edit Excel data in ArcGIS Pro (worksheets are read-only), it’s easy to view Excel worksheets and do things like
Export Excel data to a geodatabase table so that it can be managed with and related to GIS data stored in the geodatabase.
ArcGIS Pro supports XLSX files (Excel 2007) and XLS files (Excel 2003 and earlier). Before working with Excel data in ArcGIS Pro, there are a few things you need to be aware of. Here are some common things to check.
Note: If an Excel file is password-protected, you will not be able to access it in ArcGIS Pro.
ArcGIS Pro converts the first row of Excel worksheet data to field names, so the first row in your Excel worksheet should contain column names. If the first row contains other content, modify the worksheet so that the first row contains column names.
Depending on your organization’s data requirements, you may want to make a copy of the worksheet and modify the copy.
Column names must be 64 characters or less.
ArcGIS Pro field names can contain only letters, numbers, and underscores (no special characters). Best practice is for Excel column names to begin with a letter, especially if you want to join the Excel table to another table.
Note: Column names that begin with a number will have an underscore appended in front of the number in ArcGIS Pro. Spaces and hyphens in Excel column names display as underscores in ArcGIS Pro.
Column Data Types
ArcGIS Pro scans the rows in each column to determine the data type. If there are mixed data types within a column, the ArcGIS Pro field data type will be text.
Tip: Before opening the worksheet in ArcGIS Pro, in Excel, select the column, then use the Format Cells dialog box to apply the same data type to all the cells.
If your Excel column stores numeric data with decimals, in ArcGIS Pro the field will have a data type of double-precision floating-point number (AKA double).
ArcGIS Pro assigns the data type for a column containing only numbers to be numeric. This makes sense, but suppose you have a column of ZIP Codes?
Items such as ZIP Codes, U.S. FIPS codes, NAICS, and SIC codes should be treated as text, since mathematical operations don’t apply to this data. In the table below, the Area field has been assigned the long integer data type. In fact, this field contains ZIP Codes.
If the data type assigned to a field is not desirable for your data, you can join the Excel table to another (editable) table in ArcGIS Pro, then add a new field of the desired data type to the joined table and calculate its values to be the data from the source Excel column.
A previous post shared five Python code snippets to automate mapping tasks in ArcMap. This post walks you through how to accomplish those same tasks using the ArcGIS Pro Python window.
In ArcGIS Pro, the mapping module is called arcpy.mp. To try the snippets below for yourself, make a copy of an ArcGIS Pro project file (APRX) and move it somewhere for testing purposes. You don’t have to be an experienced Python scripter—simply enter the code below into the Python window and check out the results.
You’ll soon see how a few Python tricks can speed up map management.
Each snippet below works with ArcGIS Pro 1.x, an existing project file, arcpy.mp module, and Python 3.x.
Snippet 1: Check Layer Definition Queries
Suppose you need to check if any of the layers in your ArcGIS Pro project have a definition query applied, and if so, view the definition queries. Opening the Layer Properties dialog box for each layer in each map is a pain.
Solution: Open the Python window instead and run the code below. The name and definition query of all the layers will be “printed” (i.e., displayed in the Python window).
The first line of code creates a variable called aprx that references the open project using the ArcGISProject function with the CURRENT keyword.
The next line of code creates a variable called maps using the listMaps method that returns a Python list of Map objects in the project.
A for loop is used to iterate through each map.
For each map, the listLayers method is used to create a list of the layers.
Another for loop is used to iterate through the list of layers.
The Layer class has many properties that can be accessed, including the name and definition query of a layer. Because not all layer types support all properties, the supports method is used to test which properties a layer supports.
The last line of code prints (displays) the name of each map, the name of each layer, and each layer's definition query.
Snippet 2: Fix Broken Links
At some point, you have probably moved map data from one workspace to another. Have you ever seen the dreaded red exclamation marks?
If the path to map layers has changed, with just a few lines of code you can quickly find the old workspace path and replace it with the new workspace path for all layers and tables in your project at once. Run the following lines of code in the Python window (be sure to update the paths to reflect your old and new workspaces).
The first line of code is the same as the previous example, creating the variable aprx that references the open ArcGIS Pro project.
The updateConnectionProperties method is used to replace the current connection information (first parameter) with new connection information (second parameter) for all layers and tables in the project.
Snippet 3: Identify Layers with a Broken Data Source
Speaking of those red exclamation marks, you can also use arcpy.mp to print out the layers that have broken links using the code below.
The first line of code creates a variable called aprx that references the open project, just like the examples above.
Like the first example, the listMaps and listLayers methods are used to create a list of layers in each map in the project.
The for loops are used to iterate through each layer in each of the maps, printing out the name and isBroken layer properties for each. The “\n” adds a line before the map name and creates a separation between the layers for each map.
Snippet 4: Inventory Layer Data Sources
If you need to know the data source for all the layers in your project, but don’t want to open the Layer Properties dialog box for each, simply run the lines of code below in the Python window to print out the names and data sources of the layers.
This example starts the same way as the previous snippet, creating a variable for the project (aprx), and creating lists of the maps and layers in each of the maps.
In this example, you print out the name and dataSource properties for each layer in your map. The supports method is used because not all layers support the dataSource property.
Snippet 5: Combine PDF Documents
Maybe you’re creating a map book or maybe you have a few PDF documents you need to combine (like your expense report and receipts). You can use arcpy.mp and the PDFDocument class to manipulate PDF documents. Run the code below to combine two PDF documents.
The first line of code creates a variable called pdf that references an existing PDF document.
The appendPages method is used to add pages from a PDF to the end of the referenced PDF.
To save the changes, the saveAndClose method is used.
Want to learn more?
If you’d like to learn more about working with the ArcGIS Pro Python window or migrating Python scripts from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro, check out these resources: