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Mastering ArcGIS Pro ArcPy Search, Insert, & Update Cursors


ArcGIS Pro, developed by Esri, is a powerful geographic information system (GIS) software that allows users to create, analyze, and visualize spatial data. One of the key strengths of ArcGIS Pro is its ability to be extended and automated through Python scripting, and ArcPy is the Python site package that enables this functionality. In this exploration, we will delve into the use of ArcPy Cursors, specifically focusing on Search, Insert, and Update operations, to manipulate and manage spatial data within ArcGIS Pro.

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Understanding Cursors:

Cursors in ArcPy provide a means to interact with tabular data, whether it be attribute tables associated with spatial datasets or standalone tables. There are three main types of Cursors: Search, Insert, and Update. Each serves a unique purpose in reading, adding, and modifying records within a table.

Search Cursors:

Search Cursors are primarily used for reading data from a table. They allow you to iterate through records and extract information based on specified criteria. This is particularly useful when you need to analyze existing data or perform operations that don't involve modifying the records.

python

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import arcpy

# Specify the feature class or table

feature_class = "path/to/your/data.gdb/your_feature_class"

# Create a search cursor

with arcpy.da.SearchCursor(feature_class, ["Field1", "Field2"]) as cursor:

    for row in cursor:

        # Accessing values in each field

        field1_value = row[0]

        field2_value = row[1]

        # Perform operations based on the retrieved values

Insert Cursors:

Insert Cursors are used when you want to add new records to a table. This is particularly handy when you need to populate an attribute table with new data generated during your analysis.

python

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import arcpy

# Specify the feature class or table

feature_class = "path/to/your/data.gdb/your_feature_class"

# Create an insert cursor

with arcpy.da.InsertCursor(feature_class, ["Field1", "Field2"]) as cursor:

    # Insert new records

    cursor.insertRow(("Value1", "Value2"))

It's important to note that you need to provide values for all fields specified in the cursor.

Update Cursors:

Update Cursors are used for modifying existing records within a table. This is crucial when you need to update attribute values based on certain conditions or calculations.

python

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import arcpy

# Specify the feature class or table

feature_class = "path/to/your/data.gdb/your_feature_class"

# Create an update cursor

with arcpy.da.UpdateCursor(feature_class, ["Field1", "Field2"]) as cursor:

    for row in cursor:

        # Modify values in each field

        row[0] = "NewValue1"

        row[1] = "NewValue2"

        # Update the record

        cursor.updateRow(row)

It's essential to ensure that you update the values of the fields correctly and use the updateRow method to commit the changes.

Putting Cursors into Practice:

Let's consider a practical example where we have a point feature class representing cities and we want to update the population of each city based on a predefined growth rate.

python

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import arcpy

# Specify the feature class

cities_fc = "path/to/your/data.gdb/cities"

# Specify the growth rate

growth_rate = 1.05

# Create an update cursor

with arcpy.da.UpdateCursor(cities_fc, ["City", "Population"]) as cursor:

    for row in cursor:

        # Calculate the new population based on the growth rate

        new_population = int(row[1] * growth_rate)

        # Update the Population field

        row[1] = new_population

        # Commit the changes

        cursor.updateRow(row)

print("Population update complete.")

In this example, we are iterating through each city record, calculating the new population based on the growth rate, and updating the Population field accordingly.

Conclusion:

Mastering ArcPy Cursors is fundamental for efficiently working with spatial data in ArcGIS Pro. Whether you're extracting information, adding new records, or updating existing data, Cursors provide a flexible and powerful mechanism for data manipulation. By understanding and applying Search, Insert, and Update Cursors, you can unlock the full potential of automation and customization within the ArcGIS Pro environment.

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