Ranking field values

At the Esri International User Conference this year, an attendee came to the analysis island to ask “how do I create a rank field?”. They had run the Generate Near Table geoprocessing tool (see illustration of table below) and were looking for a way to further rank the distances. Ideally, the table would be updated to include a RANK field starting at ‘1’ for the smallest distance for each PATIENT and increasing sequentially based on the distance. The rank could then be used to facilitate further review and reporting. We were able to come up with the addRanks function below in a few minutes automating a key missing piece of the user’s workflow.

Original table
pre_ranking

Table after running addRanks function.
post_ranking

import arcpy

def addRanks(table, sort_fields, category_field, rank_field='RANK'):
    """Use sort_fields and category_field to apply a ranking to the table.

    Parameters:
        table: string
        sort_fields: list | tuple of strings
            The field(s) on which the table will be sorted.
        category_field: string
            All records with a common value in the category_field
            will be ranked independently.
        rank_field: string
            The new rank field name to be added.
    """

    # add rank field if it does not already exist
    if not arcpy.ListFields(table, rank_field):
        arcpy.AddField_management(table, rank_field, "SHORT")

    sort_sql = ', '.join(['ORDER BY ' + category_field] + sort_fields)
    query_fields = [category_field, rank_field] + sort_fields

    with arcpy.da.UpdateCursor(table, query_fields,
                               sql_clause=(None, sort_sql)) as cur:
        category_field_val = None
        i = 0
        for row in cur:
            if category_field_val == row[0]:
                i += 1
            else:
                category_field_val = row[0]
                i = 1
            row[1] = i
            cur.updateRow(row)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    addRanks(r'C:\Data\f.gdb\gen_near_table_patients2hosp',
             ['distance'], 'patient', 'rank')

Note: dBase (and shapefiles) does not support ORDER BY as used above by arcpy.da.UpdateCursor’s sql_clause argument.

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