Workflow Simplification Using ArcGIS Pro Tasks
ArcGIS Pro, a new addition to the Esri ArcGIS platform, was released in January 2015. This new application is designed to work with other ArcGIS for Desktop products (ArcCatalog and ArcMap), as well as work well with an ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS for Portal account.
Note: To open and begin using ArcGIS Pro, you will need to have an internet connection and login credentials for your ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS for Portal.
One of the many new features that are offered in ArcGIS Pro is tasks. Tasks are shareable workflows that are comprised of preconfigured steps that are designed to walk a user through a process. These steps are a combination of ordered geoprocessing tools and commands. Here, we will introduce the basic concepts of working with, creating and sharing tasks.
There are four main components that make up a task:
- Task Item Name: Serves as a description of what will be contained within a particular task grouping.
- Take Group: A folder, or way to group similar tasks.
- Task: An individual, preconfigured, workflow.
- Steps: Ordered and preconfigured geoprocessing tools or commands that make up a task.
There are a variety of tools that can be used to create a task. The availability of these tools depends on what is selected in the Task window.
When you create a new task, you have options to give it a custom name, and a description. The description can be as long or short as needed, and can contain hyperlinks to exterior sources, such as your organizations website, or a blog where the original workflow is already available.
When you create a new step within your task, you have two options. You can create a step that is based on a geoprocessing tool, or you can create a step based on a command.
Steps as Geoprocessing Tools
- Access to tools is license dependent!
- If you have an Advanced desktop license – you will have access to those tools.
- Not all ArcMap functionality has been made available in ArcGIS Pro at this point (expect improvement with subsequent releases).
- Task designer can define tool parameters.
- This can help to reduce user confusion when using complicated geoprocessing tools.
- Eliminates trial and error.
- Custom task description and tool instructions.
- Allow task designer to communicate to the user what they need to complete before proceeding to the next step.
- Can set step behavior.
- Designer can decide how a tool will run.
Steps as Commands
- Some commands are embeddable into a task.
- These can be customized with preconfigured parameters.
- The user has no options to change parameters – they must use what was originally designed.
- All commands are set to “Auto Run”
Additional Step Customizations
Steps can be customized in two additional ways.
- Set custom views.
- The task designer can determine which view (equivalent to the ArcMap Data View) opens, closes or is active for any step.
- Views contain maps, scenes or layouts.
- Determine step contents.
- Designer makes executive decisions about what is visible, selectable, editable and so on.
- means that a decision has not been made about a particular item.
Sharing a task is as easy as saving the task file and emailing it to a colleague. To share a task do the following:
- Navigate to the SHARE tab.
- Click SAVE AS TASK FILE.
- Select file name and location.
- Email to a co-worker who has access to ArcGIS Pro.
Note: This only packages up the task items, not the data associate with it. To share the data, it must be zipped and separately shared via email.