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

Checking to see if a Field Index Exists Using Python (geoprocessing 9.3).

NOTE:  I have a post here that shows how to check if a field exists using arcpy in ArcGIS 10.0.

In developing a python script to reload a geodatabase, I wanted to create any necessary indexes.

No problem creating the index, for example:

gp.AddIndex_management(tablename, field, IndexName, "NON_UNIQUE", "NON_ASCENDING")

But before creating the index, I wanted to verify that it did not exist.  I tried the ever-popular, exists but could not get it to work–either it does not detect indexes or I just never got the fully-qualified name for the index right (ArcSDE using a postgres datastore).


I finally found this ArcGIS Desktop Help 9.3 – ListIndexes method from ESRI.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work-it did not like the “while” loop construction.  I’m guessing it worked in 9.2 and despite ESRI’s own warning about differences in 9.2 & 9.3, they did not update the sample code.

A key is to make sure you create a 9.3-version geoprocessing object and the following code can be used.  The caveat that I need to include is that the code only checks one table, if the index is on a different table, it will give you a false-negative.

gp = arcgisscripting.create(9.3)

def indexExists(tablename,indexname):
 if not gp.Exists(tablename):
  return False

 indexList = gp.listindexes(tablename)

 for iIndex in indexList:
  if (iIndex.Name == indexname):
   return True

 return False

To call it, just pass the table and indexname you are looking for.


Zipping a shapefile via ArcToolbox


After receiving a request to modify the code to ignore .lock files, I have an updated to this post.


I’ve received a request on how to use the Zip Shapefile code I posted last week from ArcGIS. Sorry, I did not set the code up to call directly from ArcGIS but only as an illustration of how it can be done.

I have, however, with some minor tweaking, made a version that can added to ArcToolbox. The steps to install are below, please note that at one point I had you download a *.zip file that had been renamed to *.jpg–this should now be corrected and the link should lead you directly to  Because of this steps two and three are obsolete.

1) Download the code from here.
2) Rename the file from zipshapefile-zip.jpg back to
3) Unzip the file.
4) Move to C:Program
5) Optionally, move Zip Shapefile.tbx, perhaps C:Program FilesArcGISArcToolBoxToolboxes.
6) Add the toolbox to ArcToolbox. ESRI has instructions here on how to do this.

You should now have a new toolbox named “Zip Shapefile” with a script named “Zip a Shapefile” in it. Clicking on on the tool will bring up this dialog.

In response to Chris:

I believe you need to copy the file from the .zip that you downloaded to C:Program FilesArcGISArcToolBoxScripts, the error message is consistent with the tool not being about to find the python script there.

If you prefer to place the in a different location, you will need to change the source on the tool. To do this, right click on the tool in ArcCatalog and change the path of the Script File as set in the Source tab (see below):

Measuring distance from a point to a line segment in Python.

I recently had the need to calculate the distance from a point (address point) to a polyline (street segment) and wanted to avoid using any additional libraries because it was being done for an external client. Ok, I actually used arcgisscripting for reading the data but that lacked, from what I could tell, the fine-detail granularity of measuring distance between individual geometries.

But since the only spatial operations I needed were to measure the distance between two points and the distance between a point and polyline, I decided to just do it via brute force. The datasets being processed were not huge so it made this feasible.

Measuring point-to-point distance was easy enough. And while I knew I could work through the details of measuring the distance between a point and polyline, I decided NOT to re-invent the wheel if I did not have to. Google did not come up with any direct answers but I did come across this post from Paul Bourke at the University of Western Australia about measuring the distance between a point and a line segment. A polyline is just a series of line segments so I used it as the basis of my measurement–I just loop through all the consecutive vertice pairs, using the minimum distance found.

Paul did not have a python implementation included, so I went ahead and created my own from his information.

def lineMagnitude (x1, y1, x2, y2):
    lineMagnitude = math.sqrt(math.pow((x2 - x1), 2)+ math.pow((y2 - y1), 2))
    return lineMagnitude

#Calc minimum distance from a point and a line segment (i.e. consecutive vertices in a polyline).
def DistancePointLine (px, py, x1, y1, x2, y2):
    LineMag = lineMagnitude(x1, y1, x2, y2)

    if LineMag < 0.00000001:
        DistancePointLine = 9999
        return DistancePointLine

    u1 = (((px - x1) * (x2 - x1)) + ((py - y1) * (y2 - y1)))
    u = u1 / (LineMag * LineMag)

    if (u < 0.00001) or (u > 1):
        #// closest point does not fall within the line segment, take the shorter distance
        #// to an endpoint
        ix = lineMagnitude(px, py, x1, y1)
        iy = lineMagnitude(px, py, x2, y2)
        if ix > iy:
            DistancePointLine = iy
            DistancePointLine = ix
        # Intersecting point is on the line, use the formula
        ix = x1 + u * (x2 - x1)
        iy = y1 + u * (y2 - y1)
        DistancePointLine = lineMagnitude(px, py, ix, iy)

    return DistancePointLine