I'm having some issues with a Python script for ArcGIS 10. The idea is to delete points from a single shapefile according to the values of two columns ("Tracks" and "Tracks_1"). Therefore, I want to:

  1. Select features who share a certain ID
  2. Unselect some of the features depending on their values
  3. Delete the remaining selection from the shapefile
  4. Proceed with the next ID


import arcpy
env.overwriteOutput = True
arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management(centroids_thinned, "centroids_thinned_layer")
for row in rows:
    ID_centroids = row.getValue("FID_centro")
    ID_buffer = row.getValue("FID_cent_1")
    Tracks_centroids = row.getValue("Tracks")
    Tracks_buffer = row.getValue("Tracks_1")
    if ID_buffer == ID_centroids:
        arcpy.SelectLayerByAttribute_management ("centroids_thinned_layer", "NEW_SELECTION", "FID_centro = " + str(ID_buffer))
        arcpy.SelectLayerByAttribute_management ("centroids_thinned_layer", "REMOVE_FROM_SELECTION","FID_centro = FID_cent_1")
        arcpy.SelectLayerByAttribute_management ("centroids_thinned_layer", "REMOVE_FROM_SELECTION","Tracks_1 > " +  str(Tracks_centroids))
        count = int(arcpy.GetCount_management("centroids_thinned_layer").getOutput(0))
        if count > 0:
                print str(count) + " Attributes Deleted."

The selection process works fine but for some reason those selected features are not deleted from the attribute table. How can i solve this problem?

  • 1
    Are the 5 lines after if ID_buffer == ID_centroids: really at the same indentation level as that statement?
    – nmpeterson
    Apr 17, 2013 at 16:20
  • 1
    No. That must have happened when i copied the code. I'm gonna correct that. Thanks.
    – C.Riedel
    Apr 17, 2013 at 16:48
  • 1
    When you say the selection process works fine, how exactly do you know that? Is it simply not crashing, or are you actually inspecting the values of count?
    – nmpeterson
    Apr 17, 2013 at 19:34
  • Yes, I was inspecting the count values.
    – C.Riedel
    Apr 18, 2013 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


I don't have the time right now to revise your code, but I think your problem is that you're trying to delete features from the very same shapefile you're in the middle of looping through (albeit as a feature layer).

I would suggest that you only call arcpy.DeleteFeatures_management() once, after the search cursor has gone through the entire thing; you can keep track of all of the features to delete as the cursor progresses using a python list, and then construct a query to re-select and delete them all in one go at the end.

  • Thanks. That did the trick. DeleteFeatures doesn't work when it's within a SearchCursor.
    – C.Riedel
    Apr 18, 2013 at 16:09

Like @nmpeterson said, it's likely because you're doing this: open SearchCursor on centroids_thinned.shp, you run DeleteFeatures while your searchCursor is still open on centroids_thinned.shp.

I don't know exactly what your data looks like, but a common approach is to open a arcpy.da.UpdateCursor and get the records sorted based on some fields (for you it's Tracks & Tracks_1).

sql_clause  = ('','ORDER BY ID_centroids, ID_buffer ')

Then basically keeping track of when the values change from the previous record to determine if it meets your "delete" criteria or not.

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