Arcpy: Check if a field exists

I was helping a co-worker who needed to check if a field exists in their arcpy script. Since we were located at their computer, I thought I would just do a quick Google search and pull the code off this blog. Seemed logical since I the original purpose was exactly that—to serve as a handy, public place to store code snippets that I use & that others might find handy.

Anyhow, my Google Search on “Node Dangles field Exists” came up with a 9.3 script to check if field index exists. And I also have a 10.0 version but did not come up with the field exists snippet. So here it is:


def fieldExists(inFeatureClass, inFieldName):
  fieldList = arcpy.ListFields(inFeatureClass)
  for iField in fieldList:
    if == inFieldName.lower():
      return True
  return False

Unsupported Arc: “Rebox”ing or updating the extent of a feature class.

I’ve found that sometimes I can not find the answer to a question until I know the answer & then it becomes ridiculously easy to find the answer.

One small annoying thing that I never spent much time was when you delete features from a feature class making it significantly smaller but the envelope does not get re-sized so the zoom extent (still the original extent) is too large. This often happens to use when we convert tables to an XY theme and there are blank records–most of our data shows in Minnesota but there are some in Oklahoma (I think). Once we eliminate or correct the blank records, our data view still pops out to include a large section of the United States even though we only have data in Minnesota.

A long, long time ago, Workstation ArcInfo had a simple command, Rebox, for just this purpose (actually it still does, I just don’t get to use it anymore)–it shrunk the extent to the smallest rectangle required to enclose all the data. Up until today, I thought the request for this feature was completely ignored.

While researching something else, I was digging around in the sde tables and found one, sde.sde_layers, that had the interesting fields, minx, miny, maxx, and maxy. My quick & dangerous test (I performed it on a throw-away feature class in a throw-away geodatabase) gave me the results I wanted–once I loaded the feature class into ArcMap, the extent was a nice, tight rectangle around my features.

Is this a supported way to Rebox the extent? No.

Is it recommend by ESRI or me? No.

Will it screw up your entire geodatabase, making you lose all your data & costing you your job? Probably not but do you want to take that chance?

Will it get the job done? Maybe.  But in the process of writing this post, I found two safer ways to go about it. First, the straight-forward, sde command-line way that probably always existed that I never found until today, sdelayer -o alter had an -E option to reset the extent, including the ability to either specify it or have sde calculate it. Ok, that is usable for one person in our organization.

Previously, we had found either a VBA or other tool for doing this but had minimal success with it. Today, I found an ArcGIS 10 Add-In that is suppose to do the same thing. In my experiments (sample size n=1) it worked perfectly. If you need this sort of functionality, I would recommend trying out this Add-In first, if that fails go the sde command line route. Use the direct SQL method at your own risk!

Quick & Dirty arcpy: Autopan ArcMap using arcpy

Question: How do I get ArcMap to automatically pan through an area.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently had the need to have ArcMap automatically pan through a project area. My first attempt was to print a series of data-driven pages (using a fishnet polygon layer as the index) this but that did not accomplish what I needed so I switched to arcpy, which made the task simple enough. Nothing special or tricky about this code, but just did not find it anywhere else.

The one thing to note is that I have a 1 second pause between pans–this was to allow image tiles to download. You will need to adjust the delay to meet your needs. The toolbox and code can also be downloaded.

import sys,arcpy,datetime
inLayer = sys.argv[1]

def printit(inMessage):
    print inMessage

mxd = arcpy.mapping.MapDocument("CURRENT")

arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management(inLayer, "indexLayer")

df = arcpy.mapping.ListDataFrames(mxd)[0]
newExtent = df.extent

iCount = 0
iTotal = (arcpy.GetCount_management("indexLayer").getOutput(0))

for row in cur:
    thisPoly = row.getValue("Shape")
    newExtent.XMin, newExtent.YMin = thisPoly.extent.XMin, thisPoly.extent.YMin
    newExtent.XMax, newExtent.YMax = thisPoly.extent.XMax, thisPoly.extent.YMax
    df.extent = newExtent
    printit("Panned to feature {0} of {1}".format(iCount,iTotal))

del row
del cur

Domain Sorter Add-In Version 1.1

Almost a year ago, I updated ERSI’s Domain Sort code for VB 6 to work with ArcGIS 10. Recently, I had a comment that this Add-In caused ArcCatalog to explode if you had an open OLE connection. When I tested it, it turned out the reports were accurate.

I got around to adding in a Try-Catch around the offending chunk of code & it is now better than ever. You can download just the Add-In or the Add-In with source code or get it from ESRI’s ArcGIS Resource Center.

ArcMap Field Calculator: Create a Unique ID

One of the common functions I have to do is assign each record in a feature class with a unique identifier–normally just a sequential number from 1 to N.  In ArcView 3.x, the formula was simply “rec + 1” if I wanted to start with the number 1.

In ArcGIS, the process got a little more complex–you had to write a little VBA in Field Calculator as described by ESRI.

While this option still exists in ArcGIS 10, I believe it will disappear when 10.1 comes out and VBA support is completely eliminated.  But it is doable using Python which will continue to be supported.

Googling around, I did not find an exact answer but Dave Verbyla, Professor of GIS/Remote Sensing at the University of Alaska has a posted some samples that served as a good starting point.

In the Pre-Logic Script Code box, I declare a variable (counter) and a function. Then in the formula, I call the function.

counter = 0
def uniqueID():
  global counter
  counter += 1
  return counter

While composing this post, I actually wanted a concatenated value; “OC” plus an 8 character numeric sequential number starting at OC00000001 so the actual code is shown below:

ArcGIS Add-In Custom Mouse Cursor

I was working on a project and wanted my own custom mouse cursor and did not easily find a way to make your own in ESRI’s instructions.  But, once you know how to do it, it is pretty easy.  In Visual Studio, Add a New Item:

Add a Cursor File:

You can edit your cursor with the editor program in Visual Studio.  Once you satisfied with how it looks, make sure that the Build Action on the cursor is “Embedded Resource”.

Then you can set your cursor with two lines of code. Not that my cursor is in my QDI.QdiAddIn Namespace:

Dim pCursorStream As System.IO.Stream = Me.GetType.Assembly.GetManifestResourceStream("QDI.QdiAddIn.NewCursor.cur")
MyBase.Cursor = New System.Windows.Forms.Cursor(pCursorStream)

Checking to see if a Field Index Exists Using Arcpy (ArGIS 10.0) redux

I’ve previously posted python code to check if a field index exists for both ArcGIs 9.3 and ArcGIS 10.0.

Recently I have been working on a process that was using this code but it was not working because it looks for an index with a specific name.  It was not working in this case because the name of the indexes was getting incremented as they were being created.  For example, I was building an index on the table C5ST, field RelateId ([C5IX].[Relateid]) named I_C5IX_RelateId.  That worked fine until we switched our process so now we keep multiple versions of some tables, each with a date-based suffix.

We now have tables name C5St_20110625 and C5St_20110626–the Index-name scheme, however was still creating I_C5IX_RelateId and it worked great on the first one.  But when it created the second one, even on a different table, it was automatically name I_C5IX_RelateId_2 even though the name I_C5IX_RelateId was used when trying to create the index.

Before generating relates, our code checks to see if the key fields are indexed, and if they are not, builds  an index.  Because of the naming situation, multiple, duplicate indexes were being created.  Probably not too harmful but it is a little messy.

So I re-wrote the code so that you pass the function the table name and field name that you want to check and it checks to see if there is an index existing for that field and return a Boolean.  The one little wrinkle I put in is to account for indexes that span multiple fields–the ” if (iIndex.fields[0].Name.upper() == fieldname.upper()):” statement is checking the index to see if it is on a single field or multiple fields.


def fieldHasIndex(tablename,fieldname):
if not arcpy.Exists(tablename):
return False

tabledescription = arcpy.Describe(tablename)

for iIndex in tabledescription.indexes:
if (len(iIndex.fields)==1):
if (iIndex.fields[0].Name.upper() == fieldname.upper()):
return True

return False