Content of text box from attribute

Discussion created by jtuomala2 on Apr 7, 2014
Latest reply on Apr 14, 2014 by jtuomala2
I have a set of property boundary polygons.  Each property is visited each year and a GPS track is recorded. I have to make a map for each property, every year, showing the boundary and that year's track.

It's a very simple map.  The layout needs to include the property name (from the polygon attribute table) and the date of the visit (from the GPS track shapefile).

I'm looking for an efficient template set-up that will allow me to reduce both time spent making the maps and the errors that come from manually editing the layout every time.  Errors have really been an issue in the past, so it's important to pull the info from the shapefiles.

The vision is to have one mxd that is used as a template.  Zoom to the relevant property, drop in the new GPS track, variables are automatically filled in, export to PDF, done.  Close mxd without saving or remove the track and put in the next one and repeat.  I think this could work because every track is saved with the same name, so they could be interchangeable.

My first thought was to put all my boundary polygons into one shapefile and use that as the index layer with data driven pages.  That populates the property name on the map layout and makes it simple to navigate to the individual properties.  So far this works.  The name of the property shown on the map changes with the property shown.  Ok.

My problem is getting the date on the map to come from the date in the GPS track.  It can't be a dynamic text box because it's not the index layer.  I suspect this is a python problem, but I only know enough python to know that I'm out of my depth.  I've found lots of examples that only get me part way there.

Every GPS track shapefile has the same name.  It has the same fields (FID, shape, date, time) and only one row.  This doesn't change.  It seems like I should be able to connect to that pretty easily and use it to fill in the date in the text box on the map layout.  They are all stored in separate places, though, so I was looking for a way to get the date always from the one currently loaded in the map.

I'm not married to the idea of data driven pages, though, so if there's a different way to go about this problem, I'm open to it.

I'm using ArcGIS 10.2 for Desktop, Standard