Friday, August 7, 2015

GIS5103 - Sharing Tools

I have somehow made it to the last Module of GIS 5103 - GIS Programming, otherwise known as "Python."  I must admit, I have learned more than I could absorb and the journey has been a hoot. I have learned more about coding and how to use Python for GIS applications than I ever thought possible. 

In this last Module we covered how to create a tool and then securely share it. The basic process to make a script tool involves writing the script, making a toolbox and then "importing" the script to the toolbox. In this way, you can share the tool and even provide a password to securely transmit the tool to colleagues.  Below is the tool dialog window for the tool I created:

This tool takes an input feature class and adds random points then places a buffer around the points. When successfully run, the output of the tool looks like this:

Another cool thing we learned was the basic steps to make Python scripts or other files visible in ArcCatalog, First, you must add the file extension (PY in the case of Python files) to the File Types tab. First, select “Customize” from the main menu with ArcCatalog open; select “ArcCatalog Options” from the dropdown menu and then select the File Types tab. From this point you can select “New Types” and from the list, (I had no list and had to manually type in my file extension) select the file extension you want to add. 

As I said, I learned quite a bit during this course. I enjoyed the entire semester and all aspects of learning how to use Python. My challenge each week had been and remains, that I could spend countless hours going over a script and there always seemed to be at least one item that caused me to stall; I just could not get that last block of code to run properly like in Module 8, “Working with Geometries.” I was off to a good start with that script but I just could not get the darn thing to work properly.  On the other hand, one of the best things about this course was the “Discussion Board” and the “Helping Each Other” section of each Module. I don’t feel as though I posted too many questions, but I guarantee you that I read each and every question and answer, and that is the only reason I was able to accomplish as much as I did. I know we are all in this together and I couldn’t be happier about the company I am keeping nowadays. Thank you to everyone who posted a question and answer and occasionally “a glimpse of the working code.”  Good luck to all of us in our future GIS endeavors.    

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