Change Detector arcpy Script

During a process I was working on, I needed to compare a feature class before and after some edits.  I did not quickly find anything in ArcToolbox but searching ArcResources led me to Change Detector script by Bruce Harold.  After making a couple of tweaks–for some reason in one of my feature classes, the Shape field had an upper case “S” and in the other it was a lower case “s”.  I also discovered that it needs to export to the same format (personal geodatabase, file geodatabase, shapefile) as the source data (or at least one that uses the same field name deliminator).

After minor adjustments, though, it worked like a charm.  I’ll be submitting the changes I made to Bruce and let him incorporate the changes into the official code.

FOLLOW-UP: Mr. Harold quickly responded to my email & made the change (although I haven’t checked it). Way to go Bruce!  Thanks for a handy script.

Zipping a File Geodatabase using Python

Ever since the ever-popular post, Zipping a shapefile using python, came out, people have been asking (one person, yesterday) for a sample of how to zip a file geodatabase using python.

The key trick, as shown in line 17, is appending the basename of the file geodatabase (“nfg.gdb/” in my example) in front of each file as you write it to the zipfile.

UPDATE: WordPress messes with the spacing when I post code, making it difficult to post code that can just be copied & pasted and have work.  So I have posted a the code HERE for downloading.

import os
import zipfile
import glob

infile = "c:/temp/nfg.gdb"
outfile = "c:/temp/"
def zipFileGeodatabase(inFileGeodatabase, newZipFN):
   if not (os.path.exists(inFileGeodatabase)):
      return False

   if (os.path.exists(newZipFN)):

   zipobj = zipfile.ZipFile(newZipFN,'w')

   for infile in glob.glob(inFileGeodatabase+"/*"):
      zipobj.write(infile, os.path.basename(inFileGeodatabase)+"/"+os.path.basename(infile), zipfile.ZIP_DEFLATED)
      print ("Zipping: "+infile)


   return True


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):

Zipping a shapefile using python


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

One of the tasks I’ve been automating is publishing a weekly data update to a website. The update consists of shapefile. The trouble with shapefiles is they consist of 3 or more files with the same basename but different extensions in the same directory.

Not an overly complicated situation but a common one that ArcGIS does not have a solution out-of-the-box. Below is a bare-bones code snippet to do it. It has both the input shapefile and output zip file hard-coded. The call to the subroutine that does the work is: zipShapefile(wellsShapeFile,wellsZipFile)

import zipfile
import sys
import os
import glob
wellsShapeFile = "C:/cwi5_bk/WELLS/wells.SHP"
wellsZipFile = "C:/cwi5_bk/WELLS/"

def zipShapefile(inShapefile, newZipFN):
   print 'Starting to Zip '+inShapefile+' to '+newZipFN

if not (os.path.exists(inShapefile)):
   print inShapefile + ' Does Not Exist'
   return False

if (os.path.exists(newZipFN)):
   print 'Deleting '+newZipFN

if (os.path.exists(newZipFN)):
   print 'Unable to Delete'+newZipFN
   return False

zipobj = zipfile.ZipFile(newZipFN,'w')

for infile in glob.glob( inShapefile.lower().replace(".shp",".*")):
   print infile

return True

print "done!"

Iowa Geological Survey

The Iowa Geological Survey has a lot of data available to download here.  PDF versions of many of their publications can be found in their List of Publications.

Their GIS data is minimally attributed for the most part, their public wells data set did have a more robust attribution scheme.  One cool feature I found in the wells data is that they provide a hyper-link for many features to an on-line site record.  Found both shapefiles and file geodatabases in the samples I downloaded.

More interestingly, I opened up their Bedrock Geological Map and noticed something odd to me.  See the bulls-eye just NW of center?  That, even to a non-geologist like me, does not look too geologic.

Turns out it is related to a meteorite impact known as the Manson Crater, once thought to be The Dinosaur Killer until it was determined to be too old.

South Dakota Geological Survey

The South Dakota Geological Survey website provides some good base data–imagery, DRGs, DEMs, and DLGs.  There is a searchable database of core cuttings and the state data server has bedrock data for the eastern portion of the state and a statewide layer, presumably surficial geology, called geology.  Quad-based geological maps are also available (PDF format) in the Publications and Maps section.  The data I downloaded was in shapefile format with minimal attribution.