Getting started with geoprocessing

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About getting started with geoprocessing

ArcGIS 9.2 includes a new com.esri.arcgis.geoprocessing Java package, which contains a geoprocessor class.
Geoprocessing is a fundamental part of ArcGIS. Whether you're a new or experienced user, geoprocessing will become an essential part of your daily work with ArcGIS Engine and ArcGIS Server for the Java platform. Geoprocessing provides the data analysis, data management, and data conversion tools necessary for all geographic information system (GIS) users.
Geoprocessing consists of operators (tools) that operate on the data (for example, tables, feature classes, rasters, and triangulated irregular networks [TINs]) and perform tasks that are necessary for manipulating and analyzing geographic information across a wide range of disciplines. Each geoprocessing tool performs an essential operation on geographic data, such as projecting datasets from one map projection to another, adding fields to a table, or creating buffer zones around features.
ArcGIS includes over 400 geoprocessing tools. A geoprocessing tool takes ArcGIS datasets as inputs (such as feature classes, tables, rasters, and computer-aided design [CAD] files), applies an operation against this data, and creates a derived dataset as output. See the following illustration:
Many uses of GIS involve the repetition of work and this creates the need for a framework to provide automation of workflows. Geoprocessing answers this need by providing a rich set of tools and a mechanism to combine a series of tools in a sequence of operations using models and scripts.
The core idea behind geoprocessing is to provide a flexible framework to allow you to quickly and easily turn your ideas into new geoprocessing tools. A model, for example, is a new tool built by you using ModelBuilder available with ArcGIS Desktop. This topic explores the idea that geoprocessing is a way for you to execute and create new tools.

Using the geoprocessor

A geoprocessing tool is executed by the geoprocessor. The geoprocessor class is the main class that simplifies the task of executing geoprocessing tools. The geoprocessor contains properties and methods making it possible to execute tools, set global geoprocessor environment settings, and examine the resulting messages. It is the single access point for the execution of any geoprocessing tool in ArcGIS, including extensions.