Whilst some people may enjoy the security of knowing that they have done something before and can therefore do it again, others find this work boring and unchallenging. Perhaps you have a repetitive task that is part of your work day routine, something you have done so many times you can allow your mind to wander and focus on more important things like what you’re having for dinner. Personally I dislike repetitive tasks about as much as repetitive music.
So in the interest of working smarter … I will be presenting a Tips & Tricks session at the Sydney Directions 2015 showing users how to automate workflows using ArcGIS Desktop Model Builder. For those who have not used Model Builder before you will see both how easy it can be to graphically create a model to automate your ArcGIS business processes, as well as how powerful using a model can be.
Having used other GIS applications that did not have a Model Builder component I must confess that I am a huge fan of Model Builder, not only for its power and ease of use, but also as a tool for documenting your ArcGIS workflows. That’s not to say that Model Builder is not without its limitations.
I will also discuss how we can get around issues like only being able to have one iterator per model or the limited use of conditional statements. The answer in most cases is Python. For those of you who haven’t done any kind of scripting or programming before, model builder allows you to output the Python script for the Models you create graphically by stringing Geoprocessing tools together. This is a great way to both learn Python and extend the functionality of your models.
So the next time you find that you are repeatedly performing the same set of steps in ArcMap, consider modelling or scripting it, you have the tools!