Monthly Archives: August 2012

Picture This: A Model for GIS Workflow Automation

Ever since version 10.0 was released, the popularity of Python for scripting ArcGIS tasks and workflows has skyrocketed due to its integration into ArcGIS and relatively low learning curve. At version 10.1, Python is even more integrated. Case in point: you can create Python add-ins and toolboxes and in ArcMap you can directly enter Python label and MapTip expressions instead of having to load a script file. It’s nice to have these options.

Amidst all the Python love floating around, some have said ModelBuilder is the forgotten hero of the ArcGIS automation world. They contend that ModelBuilder deserves a bigger share of the spotlight that’s shining on Python. I’ve always found GIS professionals to be visual thinkers who embrace scripting, so it makes sense they would use both Python and ModelBuilder to do their ArcGIS work (and many of you likely do).

But if there is a Python vs. ModelBuilder debate, I’ll stay neutral by saying that both are valuable and have their place. When an older child angrily accuses them of favoritism towards the unwanted intruder, wise parents know to respond, “We love your little brother just as much as we love you.” And so it is with ModelBuilder and Python. Continue reading

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