I'm trying to design a model in ModelBuilder that will derive input files for a process from file paths stored in an index shapefile's attribute field.

The two datasets involved are a shapefile selection grid and a shapefile index of .LAS file footprints. The model will iterate through each grid square and select the index LAS footprints that intersect that square.

Within the index shapefile is an attribute field that has the file path of the corresponding LAS file (i.e. B:\las_files\100.las). Each grid square will intersect multiple LAS file footprints, so I want the model to collect those LAS files and use them as an input for the Create LAS Dataset tool. The output of the model will be a LAS Dataset for each grid square.

How can I relate the file paths stored in the attribute field to using those external files as model inputs?


  • You need a master model iterating through your grid layer, then a sub-model that takes that individual grid polygon, does a select by location and collects the the foot print names. These then feed into your create LAS dataset tool. The issue here is creating the LIST of file names, model builder does not do this and you need to write a bit of python. If you can write in python I would abandon model builder.
    – Hornbydd
    Sep 2 '15 at 17:42
  • I agree that this will be much easier to do using ArcPy, but if you want to persevere with ModelBuilder then the Model Only tools of Parse Path and Collect Values may or may not provide a way forward: desktop.arcgis.com/en/desktop/latest/analyze/modelbuilder/…
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 3 '15 at 2:54
  • To attract a potential answerer to this question I think you will need to include a test model that illustrates the part that you are stuck on. However, it seems like consensus is that this would be easier to do in ArcPy.
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 5 '16 at 5:44