This GIS Programming class was the first I'd ever been introduced to coding, and I feel I've learned a good deal over the semester. The most important thing I can take away from this class is how to use Python to run Geoprocessing tools in ArcMap. Of the topics covered this semester, this is at the top of my list because Geoprocessing is what makes ArcGIS so useful when analyzing large amounts of data and turning it into a visual form. Using Python can expedite processes such as selecting data by attribute or clipping multiple feature classes. This allows the user to do things with data in ArcGIS that they usually wouldn’t do because of the amount of time it would normally take. I’m also thrilled to now understand the basic syntax of Python, and how to do things such as run for loops. I believe understanding the basic syntax of Python will allow me to at least half way understand other coding languages.
One more very important thing I’ve learned while working through these modules is to take breaks if things aren’t working out. At times when I would get error message after error message, I simply had to stop for the night and go walk or run to clear my head. Usually I would come back the next day and I would be able to identify my error rather quickly.
This final module focused on Sharing tools. During this exercise and lab we learned the three ways to share tools, how to add python file type to ArcCatalog, and how to create tool documentation. During the lab assignment we were given a toolbox containing a script and script tool. We were instructed to fill in six parameters in the tool and then edit the script to ensure the variables corresponded to the parameters. During this process, we were introduced to to the sys.arg expression which allows the script to talk to the parameter in the tool instead of using a hard coded file path. Finally we edited the tool dialouge to make it more user friendly, imported the script to make it easier to share, and set a password for security reasons. Below is a screenshot of the tool result on a map and the tool dialog box.
Well this is it GIS Programming, it's been real.