Friday, November 8, 2013

Geometry Objects Make Life Easier

Sometimes you just want to work with a geometry, but you do not always want to go through all the steps of creating a cursor object.  In the 10.x framework, you can output almost any geoprocessing tool to a arcpy.Geometry object.

To gain access to all feature's geometries in a feature class, just do the following:
import arcpy
from arcpy import env
fc = r"c:\temp\data.shp"
geoms = arcpy.CopyFeatures_management(fc, arcpy.Geometry())
for g in geoms:
   print g.extent

This sample allows anyone to directly access the geometries of the input feature class without having to use the Cursor objects.

The same idea can be applied to other functions to the analysis function as well:

import arcpy
from arcpy import env
fc = r"c:\temp\data.shp"
geom = arcpy.Buffer_analysis(fc, arcpy.Geometry(), "100 Feet", "FULL", "ROUND")[0]
print geom.extent

Here the buffer tool outputs a single geometry to the geom object and the extent is displayed.

Where this becomes really powerful is when you need to perform geometry operations on your data, and want to put the results back into that row.

import arcpy
from arcpy import env
fc = r"c:\temp\data.shp"
with arcpy.da.UpdateCursor(fc, ["SHAPE@"]) as urows:
   for urow in urows:
      geom = arcpy.Buffer_analysis(urow[0], arcpy.Geometry(), "100 Feet", "FULL", "ROUND")[0]
      row[0] = geom
      del urow
      del geom

Assuming that the input is a polygon, this snippet shows how geometries can be used as inputs and outputs thus allowing for easy insertion back into the original row.

Hope this helps!