I have a number of tables that contain known values in a field. For example, I have a soil type table with one field in it. That field contains a list of known soil types. I have another table that has a list of known vegetation types. I have various other tables that contain lists of other known types of other data. What I want to do is:

  • Read in each table, do a cursor search and add the values to a list via tableList.append

  • Now that I have built each list, I want to compare the values from a separate feature class table to the known values in the list I have just created using if row.SOIL_TYPE in SoiltableList:

  • In order to do this, I need to reset the workspace I guess, because you cannot set a path parameter for listing data in any of the arcpy Listing methods.

    env.workspace = r"C:\BASE_TABLES.gdb"
    SoiltableList = []
    VegtableList = []
    for table in arcpy.ListTables():   
       if table == "SOIL_TYPE":
          for row in arcpy.SearchCursor(table)
       if table == "VEG_TYPE":
          for row in arcpy.SearchCursor(table)
    # more iterations of table
    # Reset workspace
    env.workspace = r"C:\TEST_GDB.gdb"
    for fc in arcpy.ListFeatureClasses():
       if fc == "SOIL_FEATURECLASS":
          for row in arcpy.SearchCursor(fc):
             if row.SOIL_TYPE in SoiltableList:
                print "YES"
                print "No"
      # More iterations of if/else logic to compare values from fields from various feature classes to the known values in the list I built.

The 2 questions I have are:

  1. Do I need to reset the workspace the way I did above? is there a better way of doing this or is what I am doing completely acceptable?
  2. Does my code make sense? Am I over complicating what I am trying to do? I though that maybe I would define a function or 2 to simplify the code, but I'm still in the process of figuring out what else I want the code to do.

Thanks for any suggestions.


  • 1
    Are your tables actually named SOIL_TYPE and VEG_TYPE? Those look more like field names than table names. What exactly are you trying to accomplish?
    – blah238
    May 9, 2013 at 20:20
  • Yes, both the table and the field in each table have the same name. I am writing some verification coding (i.e the feature classes are going to a client. I want to make sure the values in the feature classes are correct. I have people entering data into the feature class attribute tables by hand from some field surveys. I am writing some code to make sure the values that the data entry person entered is correct according to our known lists. I'll eventually be checking for capitalization, field length, etc)
    – Mike
    May 9, 2013 at 20:31
  • 1
    Is there a reason you are using ListTables/ListFeatureClasses instead of just specifying the full path of the tables/feature classes directly?
    – blah238
    May 9, 2013 at 20:37
  • Interesting. I was just questioning myself on that one. You're right. I can simplify the code by hard coding the argument without using the Lists. thanks :)
    – Mike
    May 9, 2013 at 20:43
  • 2
    Do you really need ArcPy to meet the requirement in your first Comment? Your data is in a File Geodatabase so if you converted your *_TYPE tables to domains then you would be able to use Validate on your data.
    – PolyGeo
    May 9, 2013 at 21:27

1 Answer 1


There isn't much point in iterating over a list of tables if the number of them is small and you know exactly the names and locations of each one -- instead, just specify their paths in full:


soil_table = r"C:\BASE_TABLES.gdb\SOIL_TYPE"
veg_table = r"C:\BASE_TABLES.gdb\VEG_TYPE"

If the workspaces can change but the class names are static, you could join them with os.path.join.


table_workspace = arcpy.GetParameterAsText(0)
fc_workspace = arcpy.GetParameterAsText(1)

soil_table = os.path.join(table_workspace, "SOIL_TYPE")
veg_table = os.path.join(table_workspace, "VEG_TYPE")
soil_fc = os.path.join(fc_workspace, "SOIL_FEATURECLASS")

That way you can avoid messing with the arcpy list methods and the arcpy.env.workspace property.

  • 1
    You could also put the tablenames into a list and then just iterate thru them, setting the path to each one using os.path.join. May 10, 2013 at 14:29
  • 2
    Or, if you like one-liners: soil_table, veg_table, soil_fc = map(os.path.join, (table_workspace, table_workspace, fc_workspace), ("SOIL_TYPE", "VEG_TYPE", "SOIL_FEATURECLASS"))
    – blah238
    May 10, 2013 at 18:18

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