I work for a flood risk consultancy where one of the most common outputs from our projects is a suite of maps created in ArcMap 10.1 / 10.2 showing the results of our hydraulic model simulations. We open a template mxd layout with our logo, a title box, legend etc and drop in background mapping, the model boundary (polygon shapefile), the development site boundary (another polygon shapefile) and then a set of grids (ASCII format) showing results such as maximum flood depth, velocity etc. We end up with a single mxd that can be quickly updated to contain the latest simulation results.

When it comes to outputting the maps, we currently have to manually switch on/off each ASCII grid and then change the text within the title / description boxes (to state the visible dataset) before exporting as a pdf. Doing this once or twice is okay, but we quite regularly have 30+ datasets to map per job, and the client often comes back asking us to make modifications to the model meaning re-pdfing all 30+ maps again - not only time-consuming but also very prone to human error due to boredom!

Is there a tool / plugin available to do this or is this something I might have to write a new python script to do?

  • So if I understand correctly: you want the title to change and "activate" a specific text box (among a number of boxes on your layout) based on which layer is turned on? – Martin Sep 10 '14 at 13:11
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    have you tried arcpy.mapping ? – radouxju Sep 10 '14 at 13:26
  • I need to turn on raster 1 of X and change the title box to say the name of raster 1, then pdf. Then turn raster 1 off, and raster 2 on, update the title and pdf... etc. I think I'm getting there with writing a Python script. arcpy.mapping is useful. Thanks! – davehughes87 Sep 11 '14 at 12:41

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