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During a process I was working on, I needed to compare a feature class before and after some edits. I did not quickly find anything in ArcToolbox but searching ArcResources led me to Change Detector script by Bruce Harold. After making a couple of tweaks–for some reason in one of my feature classes, the Shape field had an upper case ‘S’ and in the other it was a lower case ’s'.
Ever since the ever-popular post, Zipping a shapefile using python, came out, people have been asking (one person, yesterday) for a sample of how to zip a file geodatabase using python. The key trick, as shown in line 17, is appending the basename of the file geodatabase (‘nfg.gdb/’ in my example) in front of each file as you write it to the zipfile. UPDATE: WordPress messes with the spacing when I post code, making it difficult to post code that can just be copied & pasted and have work.
UPDATE: After receiving a request to modify the code to ignore .lock files, I have an updated to this post.  I’ve received a request on how to use the Zip Shapefile code I posted last week from ArcGIS. Sorry, I did not set the code up to call directly from ArcGIS but only as an illustration of how it can be done. I have, however, with some minor tweaking, made a version that can added to ArcToolbox.
UPDATE: After receiving a request to modify the code to ignore .lock files, I have an updated to this post. One of the tasks I’ve been automating is publishing a weekly data update to a website. The update consists of shapefile. The trouble with shapefiles is they consist of 3 or more files with the same basename but different extensions in the same directory. Not an overly complicated situation but a common one that ArcGIS does not have a solution out-of-the-box.
The Iowa Geological Surveyhas a lot of data available to download here. PDF versions of many of their publications can be found in their List of Publications. Their GIS data is minimally attributed for the most part, their public wells data set did have a more robust attribution scheme. One cool feature I found in the wells data is that they provide a hyper-link for many features to an on-line site record.
The South Dakota Geological Survey website provides some good base data–imagery, DRGs, DEMs, and DLGs. There is a searchable database of core cuttings and the state data server has bedrock data for the eastern portion of the state and a statewide layer, presumably surficial geology, called geology. Quad-based geological maps are also available (PDF format) in the Publications and Maps section. The data I downloaded was in shapefile format with minimal attribution.