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The ultimate recipe to better manage time and standardize team workflows

During the weekend, I made blueberry muffins. I mixed all the ingredients in a bowl, poured the mixture into a baking pan and put it in the oven for 20 minutes. The muffins turned out great, so I shared the recipe with my mom. Read this blog post to find out how you can use Tasks in ArcGIS Pro, much like a recipe, to organize your workflows in predefined, sharable steps using datasets and tools (the ingredients) within models and scripts (the containers) to ensure consistency and accuracy, and save time and money. 

All ArcGIS Pro users have access to Tasks. This feature is available with all levels of ArcGIS Pro licenses and doesn’t require any extension. Why should you use it?

Here are a few reasons:

  1. Standardize workflows across your organization to assure consistency
  2. Improve time management for you and your team
  3. Reduce errors in performing commands and choosing datasets
  4. Make complex processes accessible to more users
  5. Include models and scripts to make custom “recipes”
  6. Use it as a training tool for new employees, temporary workers and part-time users

Automating your processes can help ensure your organization’s authoritative data is always up to date. Automation also helps save time. There are many automation options available within the ArcGIS platform to run tools and execute scripts quicker than the manual alternative.

In the Tasks function, you can leverage ModelBuilder to build chains of geoprocessing tools together and repeat them in loops or on demand, with only one click. Models can be simple or complex in nature.

Python scripts can also be used to speed up workflows. From labelling features, automating maps, creating map books, importing CAD data into your geodatabase, updating data from the cloud to your local machine or publishing map services, the possibilities are endless. However, did you know that you can now leverage the Tasks feature to link and organize all these and more, in step-by step custom recipes?

Tasks are like my muffin recipe. They tell you when data A and B need to be added to run tool #1, or when model #2 needs to happen to produce results D, which then gets combined with E and F to complete the workflow and get the job done the way your organization wants it done. If a step is missed or the wrong data is added, your muffins may not rise as expected.

To create a task, you can record a full workflow as you are performing it, and it will separate each command in steps. On the other hand, you can also create steps one by one. Just make sure to validate your workflow when you link all the steps together.

Tasks can include many types of items. Depending on your workflow requirements, a few or multiple tools and scripts can be added to the task. You can then share the tasks or “recipe” with other users to get the same results each time.

To learn more about using Tasks in ArcGIS Pro, check out our new instructor-led, one-day training course Optimizing GIS Workflows with Tasks in ArcGIS Pro and request a training date.

We also offer several courses on automation using Python and building models.


Self-paced web courses:

If you have any questions about these courses or about using Tasks in ArcGIS Pro, feel free to contact us by leaving a comment below.

About the Author

Carole Arseneau is a Sales Representative at Esri Canada. She advises customers from all industries on how to use GIS technology to be more efficient in their daily workflows. Carole holds a GIS certificate from Florida State College in Jacksonville and a Bachelor degree in Kinesiology from Laval University in Québec City. Being by the water has always made her feel at home and has given her inspiration to keep a positive outlook in life.

Profile Photo of Carole Arseneau