You have probably noticed in the sidebar that Stack Overflow is Introducing Documentation.

From a comment by @animuson on Allow Documentation in other Stack Exchange communities it seems:

If/when this feature does make it to other sites in the future, it's going to be very far off in the future. Expanding to other sites is not something we are even thinking about at this particular moment in time.

With the only home of Documentation being at Stack Overflow for the foreseeable future, where should documentation and examples related to GIS code libraries go?

Also see Are there any plans for Docs.SO to come to some of the other SE sites?

Sunsetting Documentation documents the shutting down of the Documentation Beta. I will leave my earlier question above the line.


2 Answers 2


What does Stack Overflow Documentation mean to GIS Stack Exchange?

One thing it means is a potential place we can use as source to complement answers which use or involve code somehow related to GIS.

We can't use it as an internal documentation platform, but we can use it to improve the quality of our content, in the same way we already use other external references.

For example, the R Language, topic Introduction to Maps. It has some interesting examples.

Of course if internal references are already available, I'd prefer them; but SO's documentation is another place we can look at.

With the only home of Documentation being at Stack Overflow for the foreseeable future, where should documentation/examples related to GIS code libraries go?

We don't need to address GIS SE documentation differently from what we are already doing: building canonical questions and answers; filling tag wikis as best as we can; doing meaningful edits on posts.

  • This won't be much good for R until we can post in RMarkdown - and I see that pretty clearly out of scope for SA/SE. The examples in your map link cannot be changed in place for example, you need to get R setup and run the examples, post up the images etc. The tools for R generally are more powerful, and I think you'll see R focus move away from these sites and rally around Bookdown, RStudio Connect, R-Hub, MetaCRAN - and friends.
    – mdsumner
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 6:17
  • Yes, sure. That documentation site is still in beta; I think there are much to be improved there. But, I did not get enchanted by documentation. Just wanted to say if there is something nice there, it could be used as external reference (by providing a direct link, or adapting its content). (@mdsumner) Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 11:28
  • @PolyGeo, thanks for pointing this out. I would be delighted to be able write documentation for many of the Python geospatial packages I work with, including open source ones and Esri arcpy. I mean, for me it would be more of a blogging platform where I can focus on documenting a specific task and show how it is done, explain whys and whats. For instance, I have Esri file gdb, I want to create a geopandas from that and draw features on a map. This is exactly what this post stackoverflow.com/documentation/r/1372/… is doing. Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 5:42
  • @AndreSilva, good one. I guess getting "GIS.SE Documentation" is impossible, but introducing our tags such as geopandas or fiona on SO is also very hard as it has to be popular on SO and it is not. But again, I would love to be able to contribute with the docs on GIS.SE instead of spreading this across my gists and blog posts. Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 5:45

Sunsetting Documentation documents the shutting down of the Documentation Beta. I will leave my earlier answer below the line.

I asked this question because I do not know the answer, nor do I have a clear idea of what my answer would be without further investigation.

I tried to propose ArcPy as a Documentation tag and it looked like I became the 1st of 5 needed to commit to it before the proposal could proceed.

The message I got back was:

arcpy Documentation Proposal
This tag is too new, or too low activity, for Documentation to be created for it.

I think this must be what @Dowlers tried before posting their comment.

Undeterred, I have been able to create and have had approved an ArcPy topic beneath the Python Language with a single arcpy.da.SearchCursor() example.

enter image description here

There has also been an arcgis tag proposed for Documentation by someone else. I'm still trying to decide whether I think ArcGIS is appropriate because I think ArcObjects, ArcPy, ArcGIS API for JavaScript, etc are much more suitable.

The rules on adding tags to documentation are at https://stackoverflow.com/help/documentation-add-tags

In order for a tag to have documentation, it must have at least 500 questions and 10 [5?] committed users.

Any user with at least 150 reputation and 1 positively scored answer in a tag can commit to it by searching for the tag on the documentation listing page.

ArcPy documentation tag creation by me seems to be blocked because:

  1. There are less than 400 questions tagged with it ("too low activity")
  2. I do not have a positively scored answer in ArcPy at Stack Overflow, which is because I think such questions are better asked at GIS SE.
  • @PolyGeo Yes that was exactly what I tried.
    – Dowlers
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 21:23
  • 2
    @PolyGeo I'd be worried about creating tags used here on the stack exchange site, won't it lead to new users posting their question in Stack Overflow and not here?
    – Dowlers
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 21:26
  • @Dowlers That's certainly a consideration that I have made. What I'm thinking/hoping is that any ArcPy (for example) documentation would include direction to its readers to ask any questions related to it at the Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange. Perhaps, later if Documentation were to spread to other SEs, the ArcPy topic could be transplanted to GIS SE Documentation.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 21:29

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