MXD Location Suggestions?

Discussion created by jplay on Sep 28, 2012
Latest reply on Oct 3, 2012 by jplay
Not sure if this is the right place for this question because it doesn't really have any coding associated with it, but...

I am in the process (re)writing several scripts to be used during Emergency Management hazard situations. I am trying to make them as user friendly as possible with as few input parameters as possible so that even the ArcMap novice can run them. Additionally, previous versions have relied on populating pre-designed map and document templates for the final outputs. I would very much like to avoid templates if possible in order to eliminate any possible user error or corruption to the templates. I am fairly certain I can eliminate the .doc template (haven't actually written the script yet but I have an idea of how to go about it).

What I need suggestions with, however, is where to store the MXD template so that it is accessible no matter where the script is run from--we are a big agency with many computers that do not all have the same drive mappings. The scripts were originally written with a parameter to select the MXD, but like I said, user error and corrupted files and all that. I searched for ways to create a new blank MXD programatically that I could then populated with everything I needed each time the script ran, but according to this post ( it can't be done.

So my question to all you smart people, where can I store the MXD template that the user does not need to search for it, but is still accessible to the script tool regardless of many disparate drive mappings and safe from becoming corrupted by gremlins playing with things they shouldn't? I get around database connections by building them when they don't previously exist. And, of course, scripts can be stored with relative paths. Is there something similar that can be done for map documents even if my or the novice user's admin rights don't extend across the network? (I never know if I do or don't have admin rights to a given machine until I sit down in front of it--even then it depends on the temperament of the IT group that day).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.