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Geoprocessing in ArcGIS with Python

Map of Devastating 2003 Heat Wave in the Netherlands Observed from MODIS Satellite. Mehdi Aminipouri (PhD Candidate in Geography at SFU)

Researchers often have to analyze many individual datasets separately using the same process. For example, maybe you need to convert 100 CSV files into shapefiles and create buffers with increasing increments around them, in each one. Sometimes even working spatial analysts don’t have access to premade tools that can run this analysis; in which case, they need to create the tool themselves to automate most of this processing.

Almost all uses of GIS involve a repetition of work, and this creates the need for methods to automate, document, and share multiple-step procedures known as workflows. Geoprocessing allows you to automate your GIS tasks and perform spatial analysis and modeling. This workshop will guide participants in the creation of custom geoprocessing tools in ArcGIS using Python. At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • create a geoprocessing workflow in ArcGIS Model Builder;
  • create a geoprocessing workflow using Python code;
  • run basic geoprocessing and shapefile editing tools using Python code; and
  • code a single tool that can be used in ArcMap to run the entire workflow.

Software requirements:

Participants will need to bring their own computer, running the Windows operating system. This workshop requires the use of ArcGIS Desktop and Python. ArcGIS Desktop is available for download and can be installed on Windows operating systems only. Instructions on installing ArcGIS Desktop and other necessary information will be sent out to participants closer to the workshop date.


This workshop assumes prerequisite knowledge of Introductory Python and Geoprocessing in ArcGIS  materials or their equivalent. You can attend the Python workshop on Feb 8 & 9, or if you can't make it to this Python workshop, you may learn on your own the first 5 modules of Software Carpentry Programming with Python, which should sufficiently prepare you for this series of workshop.  Please contact if you have any questions.

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