When I run a tool through arcpy, a file simply called 'log' with no extension is created in the scratchWorkspace. This is quite different to the history log files which are XML and I cannot find any documentation on it.

A line of this file typically looks something like:

201402261409   0     0     0Johnsmith C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\SnapPou_fA551 = SNAPPOUR(C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\t_t324, C:\Test Data\SampleFlowAcc\FlowAcc.tif,  10000.0)

So it seems the first column is a data/time stamp of the tool execution, then there are 2 numbers, followed by what must be the windows user who executed the tool and the tool command (with output & input locations)

I would like to know what the number columns mean? More often than not, these are both 0's, but sometimes the first column is a 1 and the second column is anything between 1 and 9...

Any ideas?

Here is a bigger example of the file contents:

201402261410   1     7     0Jhonsmith C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\Watersh_Flow1 = WATERSHED(C:\Test Data\SampleFlowDir\FlowDir_Fill11.tif, C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\SnapPou_fA641)
201402261410   0     0     0Johnsmith in_memory\f55D3000E_BE6E_4FF6_A15E_3B3ACA024F7E = GRIDSHAPE(C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\ws_6, WEED)
201402261410   0     0     0Johnsmith C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\SnapPou_f90E1 = SNAPPOUR(C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\t_t3211, C:\Test Data\SampleFlowAcc\FlowAcc.tif,  10000.0)
201402261410   0     9     0Johnsmith C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\Watersh_Flow1 = WATERSHED(C:\Test Data\SampleFlowDir\FlowDir_Fill11.tif, C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\SnapPou_f90E1)
201402261410   0     0     0Johnsmith in_memory\fAC52111C_9237_4398_897D_1E5D0A460157 = GRIDSHAPE(C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\ws_7, WEED)
201402261410   0     0     0Johnsmith C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\SnapPou_f8541 = SNAPPOUR(C:\temp\tmpeoqn0r\t_t3212, C:\Test Data\SampleFlowAcc\FlowAcc.tif,  10000.0)

1 Answer 1


Interesting question, these files have been around for a long time but no obvious explanation of their structure. I've noticed that they often log raster processing operations as does your example show. I came across these threads [1][2][3] but none of them explicitly describe the structure of the log file. I don't think its documented anywhere and probably a relic to ArcInfo 7 or earlier.

  • I would assume that the numeric columns relate to some kind of messages generated by the tool? It would be interesting to know as they could provide a much clearer 'quick reference' as to what has happened than the xml history log files and they exist in the workspace, which is a more sensible location...
    – James
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 15:29
  • Lets hope someone from ESRI sees this and can give an answer as I cannot find anything in their help files.
    – Hornbydd
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 16:21

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