Quick & Dirty arcpy: Bulk Changing Field Values

In mapping cross sections, our geologists often find themselves renaming their stratigraphic units midway, or at the end, of creating multiple cross sections.  This can cause a situation where we need to change multiple values in multiple fields in multiple feature classes–a situation that can get messy very fast.

Perfect situation for a quick & dirty arcpy script and, in this case, an ArcToolbox tool that can be downloaded.

This tool will change all feature classes in the O:\clay_cga\sand-distribution_model\dnrPackages\stratlines directory.

It will look at two fields, [strat] and [unit] and make these changes:

  • “go” becomes “gro”
  • “goc” becomes “grc”
  • “sgb” becomes “grb”

And since I have Case Sensitive checked, “Go” will not get changed to “gro”.  Also note that only full values that match values in the Old Value List get changed, part matches are left as-is so “got” would be left as-is even though the first two characters match “go”.


Bulk Field Change

import arcpy
import sys, string, arcgisscripting
import arcpy

def printit(inString):
    print inString

def printerr(inString):
    print inString

def fieldExists(tablename,indexname):

 if not arcpy.Exists(tablename):
  return False

 tabledescription = arcpy.Describe(tablename)

 for iField in tabledescription.fields:
     if (iField.Name.lower() == indexname.lower()):
         return True

 return False

if len(sys.argv) > 1:
    inDirectory = sys.argv[1]
    inFieldNameRaw = sys.argv[2]
    oldValue = sys.argv[3].replace(","," ")
    newValue = sys.argv[4].replace(","," ")
    caseSensitiveRaw = sys.argv[5]
    inDirectory = r"C:\temp\test\stratest"
    inFieldNameRaw = "strat"
    oldValue = "go, goc, sgb".replace(","," ")
    newValue = "gro grc grb".replace(","," ")
    caseSensitiveRaw = "true"

caseSensitive = (caseSensitiveRaw.lower() == "true")
fieldNameList = inFieldNameRaw.replace(","," ").split()

printit(" Workspace: "+str(inDirectory))
printit( " inFieldName: "+str(inFieldNameRaw))
printit( " oldValue: "+str(oldValue))
printit( " newValue: "+str(newValue))
printit( " caseSensitive: "+str(caseSensitive))

valueDict = dict()

def initialQC():
    global valueDict

    if not (arcpy.Exists(inDirectory)):
        printerr("Workspace {0} does not exist".format(inDirectory))
        return False

    if (len(oldValue.split()) <> len(newValue.split())):
        printerr("Number of values in {0} does not equal number of values in {1}".format(oldValue,newValue))
        return False

    iValueIndex = 0
    for iOldValue in oldValue.split():
        if (caseSensitive):
            thisKey = iOldValue
            thisKey = iOldValue.lower()

        if (valueDict.has_key(thisKey)):
            printerr("ERROR: Value, {0}, is repeated, cancelling...".format(thisKey))
            return False

        valueDict[thisKey] = newValue.split()[iValueIndex]
    return True

def makeFieldList(inFC):
    thisFieldList = []

    for iField in fieldNameList:
        if (fieldExists(inFC,iField)):

    return thisFieldList

def main():
    arcpy.env.workspace = inDirectory
    for iFC in arcpy.ListFeatureClasses():
        printit("Working on {0}".format(iFC))

        iFieldList = makeFieldList(iFC)
        if (len(iFieldList) == 0):
            printit(" No fields to change, Skipping...")

        rows = arcpy.UpdateCursor(iFC)

        changes = 0
        printit(" Changing Rows")
        for row in rows:
            iChange = 0
            for iField in iFieldList:
                iValue = str(row.getValue(iField))
                newValue = iValue

                if valueDict.has_key(iValue):
                    newValue = valueDict[iValue]
                    if not (caseSensitive):
                        if valueDict.has_key(iValue.lower()):
                            newValue = valueDict[iValue.lower()]

                if (newValue <> iValue):
                    printit("CHANGE {0}".format(newValue))

            if (iChange > 0):
        printit(" Made {0} changes".format(changes))
        del row
        del rows


if (initialQC()==True):