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We are using the metes and bounds in old pipeline alignment sheets in an edit session in ArcMap to plug in the "direction/length" values to generate the line segments. Does anyone have any idea how I could explore further on how would this be done in Python? For example if I used an insert cursor and some how mangled that with some trigonometry... (grasping for straws here). All I have is an alignment sheet giving a string of these: S-34-47-00-E 567'. Any ideas? Other GIS systems welcome or ArcObjects.

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Look at cogo tools. I think there is a toolbar for that in arceditor.
Autocad map3d and civil3d both have that also.
I believe I have even seen something on th Qgis list mentioning a plugin for it.
Also a paid for desktop application for Arcmap. This is a very nice software (opinion based on how well it works, how often it is updated, what the output is, and the quality of help you get).
They also have an online version. so you can program and make calls to their server for output back to yours.

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@Justin Ancient question I know, but it recently came to my attention and for future readers who come across this. It isn't Python, but Brad is right with COGO tools. Now available at Standard (Editor) and Advanced (Info) License, but not Basic (View). Specifically you'd be looking the Traverse tool, which you can create a particularly formatted text file out of those calls and it will plot them all at once instead of having to enter the info one at a time. –  Chris W May 29 at 22:19

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