Getting started with geoprocessing

This document was published with and applies to ArcGIS 9.3.
A 9.2 version also exists.

About geoprocessing

ArcGIS 9.2 includes a new .NET assembly, ESRI.ArcGIS.Geoprocessor, containing a managed class called Geoprocessor. This assembly is built against .NET Framework version 2.0.
Geoprocessing is a fundamental part of ArcGIS. Whether you're a new user or an old pro, geoprocessing will become an essential part of your day-to-day work with ArcGIS. Geoprocessing provides the data analysis, data management, and data conversion tools necessary for all geographic information system (GIS) software users.
Geoprocessing consists of operators (tools) that operate on the data in ArcGIS (tables, feature classes, rasters, triangulated irregular network [TINs], and so on) 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 more than 400 such 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 newly derived dataset as output.
Using the geoprocessor
A geoprocessing tool is executed by the geoprocessor. The Geoprocessorclass is the main class that simplifies the task of executing geoprocessing tools. The geoprocessor contains properties and methods that make it possible to execute tools, set global environment settings, and examine the resulting messages. It is the single access point for the execution of any geoprocessing tool in ArcGIS, including extensions.

See Also:

What is geoprocessing?
Sample: Executing geoprocessing tools