Overview of the ArcGIS API for Python
The ArcGIS API for Python is a powerful, modern and easy to use Pythonic library to perform GIS visualization and analysis, spatial data management and GIS system administration tasks that can run both interactively, and using scripts.
A Pythonic GIS API
The ArcGIS API for Python provides a pythonic representation of a GIS. A pythonic API is one which corresponds to Python best practices in its design and uses standard Python constructs and data structures with clean, readable idioms. The API makes it easy and natural for a Python programmer to use ArcGIS, and conversely, an ArcGIS user to script and automate their GIS.
The ArcGIS API for Python is implemented using the online and on-premises web GIS platform provided by ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise respectively. The API has Python modules, classes, functions, and types for managing and working with elements of the ArcGIS platform information model.
Architecture of the API
The API is distributed as the
arcgis package via conda and pip. Within the
arcgis package, which represents the generic GIS model, functionality is organized into a number of different modules that makes it simple to use and understand. Each module has a handful of types and functions that are focused towards one aspect of the GIS.
This diagram below depicts the modules present in the API.
gis module is the most important and provides the entry point into the GIS. It lets you manage users, groups and content in the GIS. GIS admins spend a lot of time on this module.
The modules in green are used to access the various spatial capabilities or geographic datasets in the GIS. These modules include a family of geoprocessing functions, types and other helper objects for working with spatial data of a particular type.
The modules in blue provide additional functionality for your workflows. They include the
geocoding module which is for finding places, the
geometry module for representing the geometries of feature data and functions for working with them, the
geoprocessing module that makes it easy to import third party geoprocessing tools and work with them and the
geoenrichment module that helps you enrich your datasets with thematic information.
The modules in orange allow you to visualize and disseminate your GIS data and analysis. The
widgets module includes the MapView Jupyter notebook widget for visualizing maps and layers, the
mapping module has types and functions for working with web maps and web layers and the
apps module helps you create and manage web applications built with ArcGIS.
arcgis.gis module provides an information model for GIS hosted within ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS. This module provides functionality to manage (create, read, update and delete) GIS users, groups and content. This module is the most important and provides the entry point into the GIS.
arcgis.env module provides a shared environment used by the different modules. It stores globals such as the currently active GIS as well as environment settings that are common among all geoprocessing tools, such as the output spatial reference.
Entities located in space with a geometrical representation (such as points, lines or polygons) and a set of properties can be represented as features. The
arcgis.features module is used for working with feature data, feature layers and collections of feature layers in the GIS. It also contains the spatial analysis functions which operate against feature data.
Raster data is made up of a grid of cells, where each cell or pixel can have a value. Raster data is useful for storing data that varies continuously, as in a satellite image, a surface of chemical concentrations, or an elevation surface. The
arcgis.raster module contains classes and raster analysis functions for working with raster data and imagery layers.
arcgis.network module contains classes and functions for network analysis. Network layers and analysis can be used for operations such as finding the closest facility, the best route for a vehicle, the best routes for a fleet of vehicles, locating facilities using location allocation, calculating an OD cost matrix, and generating service areas.
Schematics are simplified representations of networks, intended to explain their structure and make the way they operate understandable. The
arcgis.schematics module contains the types and functions for working with schematic layers and datasets.
arcgis.geoanalytics module provides types and functions for distributed analysis of large feature and tabular datasets. These GeoAnalytics tools work with big data registered in the GIS’s datastores as well as with feature layers.
arcgis.geocoding provides classes and functions for geocoding, batch geocoding and reverse geocoding. Geocoders can find point locations of addresses, business names, and so on. The output points can be visualized on a map, inserted as stops for a route, or loaded as input for spatial analysis.
arcgis.geometry module defines useful geometry types for working with geographic information and GIS functionality. It provides functions which use geometric types as input and output as well as functions for easily converting geometries between different representations.
arcgis.geoenrichment module provides the ability to get facts about a location or area. Using GeoEnrichment, you can get information about the people and places in a specific area or within a certain distance or drive time from a location. You can use this data to enhance the accuracy of your predictive models or better explain the inferences you gain from them.
Users can create and share geoprocessing tools in the GIS. The
arcgis.geoprocessing module provides helper types with dynamically created methods to invoke these tools, and provides simple types that can be used as parameters for these tools along with native Python types.
arcgis.realtime module provides types and functions for receiving real-time data feeds and sensor data streamed from the GIS to perform continuous processing and analysis. It includes support for stream layers that allow Python scripts to subscribe to the streamed feature data or broadcast updates or alerts.
arcgis.mapping module provides components for visualizing GIS data and analysis. This module includes WebMap and WebScene components that enable 2D and 3D mapping and visualization in the GIS. This module also includes mapping layers like MapImageLayer and VectorTileLayer
arcgis.widgets module provides components for visualizing GIS data and analysis. This module includes the MapView Jupyter notebook widget for visualizing maps and layers
arcgis.apps module allows you to manage some of the web based applications available in ArcGIS.
How this website is organized
The guide pages explain each individual concept of the API and the best practices. The sample notebooks explain how to use the API to write Python scripts, incorporating capabilities such as mapping, query, analysis, geocoding, routing, portal administration, and more to solve real world problems. If you are looking for recipes, you may find them as sample notebooks.
The api reference provides a reference for each class, its properties and methods in the
arcgis package. The ArcGIS API for Python Community is an Esri Community where you can share your thoughts about the API, request for features, conduct polls, report bugs, ask questions and engage with the Python community in general.