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Migrating from arcpy.mapping to ArcGIS Pro

Arcpy.mapping scripts authored with ArcGIS Desktop must be modified before you can run them in ArcGIS Pro. The changes are straight-forward and logical and typically can be accomplished with find and replace operations. The sections below highlight many of the significant changes to the arcpy.mp API as well as new features that were added.

Python 3

ArcGIS Pro uses Python 3. You may need to modify some standard Python syntax. For more information, see Python migration from 10.x to ArcGIS Pro.

Arcpy.mapping is now arcpy.mp

The changes introduced with ArcGIS Pro were significant enough to merit a module name space change. The new name offers more flexibility in terms of the capabilities that arcpy.mp offers. For example, in addition to map automation, arcpy.mp also provides project-level management.

The ArcGIS Pro project file (.aprx)

The first and most obvious change is that arcpy.mp in ArcGIS Pro needs to reference a project file (.aprx) rather than a map document (.mxd). Therefore, you need to replace arcpy.mapping.MapDocument(mxd_path) with arcpy.mp.ArcGISProject(aprx_path). The ArcGISProject function is now an ArcGISProject object, which is a main entry point for most arcpy.mp automation needs. The ArcGISProject class also has an importDocument method that allows you to automate the importing of map (.mxd), globe (.3dd), scene (.sxd), and other document files into a project.

Many of the list functions have moved

Many of the stand-alone arcpy.mapping List functions are now methods on the appropriate objects. This design change removed the need to continually reference the map document as the first parameter, and the new organization has a better object-oriented flow. The following examples demonstrate how List functions are used to reference a layer's label classes. They are similar in terms of functionality but require changes to your existing ArcGIS Desktop scripts.

This sample demonstrates how to reference a layer's label classes using ArcGIS Desktop.

mxd = arcpy.mapping.MapDocument("CURRENT")
df = arcpy.mapping.ListDataFrames(mxd, "Yosemite National Park")[0]
for lyr in arcpy.mapping.ListLayers(mxd, df):
    if lyr.supports("SHOWLABLES"):
        lblClasses = lyr.labelClasses

This sample demonstrates how to reference a layer's label classes using ArcGIS Pro.

p = arcpy.mp.ArcGISProject("CURRENT")
m = p.listMaps("Yosemite National Park")[0]
for lyr in m.listLayers():
    if lyr.supports("SHOWLABELS"):
       lblClasses = lyr.listLabelClasses()

The following diagram displays the classes that are part of arcpy.mp and the location and name of the functions or properties needed to reference a particular class:

arcpy.mp OMD overview

Export functions have moved

The stand-alone export functions are now methods on the Layout and MapFrame objects. The design change separates the different sets of parameters that are available depending on the object being exported. For example, when you're exporting a layout, it doesn't make sense to include world file information.

Layer management functions have moved

The stand-alone layer management functions are now methods on the Map and LayerFile objects. The methods include addLayer, addLayerToGroup, insertLayer, moveLayer, and removeLayer.

Layer files have changed

Layer files authored with ArcGIS Desktop have an .lyr extension, and layer files created with ArcGIS Pro have an .lyrx extension. There is a notable difference. Older .lyr files only store a single layer or a single group layer at the root level, although a group layer can have multiple layers or group layers within it. Newer .lyrx files can store multiple layers and group layers at the root level. A reference to an .lyrx can now be a reference to either a single layer or a list of layers.

New Map, MapFrame, and Camera objects replace the role of the data frame

The ArcGIS Pro framework has introduced capabilities that affect how you interact with map displays and, therefore, new objects are being introduced. These new Map, MapFrame, and Camera objects each serve a specific role and are integrated with one another.

A Map object in ArcGIS Pro represents a collection of tabular and symbolized geographic layers and also persists information such as coordinate system, default views of the data, and various other metadata. The only way to visualize the contents of a map is in a map view, as a tab in the application with its own table of contents, or in a map frame on a page layout. The same map can be displayed in multiple map views or map frames. If a layer is added to a map, all map views and map frames that reference that map will display the added layer. If you want a different collection of layers or tables to be displayed in different views, you will need to build and use different maps.

A MapFrame object is a Layout element that displays the geographic information added to a Map. It also controls the size and positioning of the map frame on a layout. More than one map frame can reference the same map.

ArcGIS Pro integrates 2D and 3D display, and the Camera object is used to control both the scale and extent of 2D maps and the camera position for 3D maps in a map frame.

A new Layout object

An ArcGIS Pro project supports multiple layouts. As a result, a new Layout object was added, and layouts can be referenced using the listLayouts method on the ArcGISProject object. Each layout can have different page sizes and orientations. Similar to ArcGIS Desktop, you can get to the individual layout elements using the listElements method. Each of these elements has a visible property that allows you to turn off an element rather than moving it off the page.

The application always refreshes when using CURRENT

When you use the CURRENT keyword in the Python window with ArcGIS Desktop, you sometimes had to call refreshActiveView to force a screen refresh. This is no longer the case with ArcGIS Pro. All arcpy.mp API changes directly update ArcGIS Pro.

Updating data sources has changed

The methods and parameters for changing a layer's or table's data source has changed. The improved design allows for better management of database connections and other data sources that may be joined or related. For more information, see Updating and fixing data sources.