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These notes apply to ArcGIS (ArcMap) 10.0 and later

Possible Causes

Some of the common performance bottlnecks include:

  • The increase in CPU / RAM footprint expected with any new release
  • Frequent refresh of the new ArcMap Catalog window and Home Folder and default geodatabase (in combination with LAN latency [slow response])
  • The ArcGIS 10 indexing service used by the Search toolbar
  • The new ArcGIS 10.x snapping and editing environment

Suggestions to improve performance

  1. Update to the most recent service pack. You can find these by looking on the Esri support site. EGIS posts Desktop SPs internally on the DFS and FTP.
  2. ArcMap 10 mxd documents use a "default geodatabase." This special file geodatabase is located by default in your Windows "My Documents" folder. If "My Documents" is located on a remote (network) disk, you may get better (maybe dramatically better) performance by setting the default GDB to one on a local disk. You can change the default GDB for new ArcMap documents in ArcGIS 10.0 SP5 and ArcGIS 10.1.
  3. Reset your user profile – this is especially recommended if another user logging into your machine gets better ArcGIS responsiveness than you do!
  4. Some remote file shares may not perform well with ArcGIS. If other applications seem to be working fine with the remote disk, ArcGIS may be performing poorly because of latency – but how long it takes for the remote disk to respond ArcGIS's huge number of read and write requests. Storing frequently used mxd's and data files locally is an option. Mapping remote shares using hard-coded IP addresses has been rumored to help with remote data access. The network setup may have to be tuned to decrease latency, so users can get the benefits of network shares (backup, etc).
  5. Limit the number of connections you have set up in ArcCatalog and the number of layers you put in an ArcMap document. If you have fifty ArcCatalog connections or ArcMap mxd layers, that you don't need, you may be unnecessarily slowing yourself down.
  6. Disable browsing for raster file types you don't use. You can always enable raster formats later if you need them.
  7. Data formats:
    • File Geodatabase (.gdb) is by far the fastest-drawing file format, at least for feature data.
    • If using coverages or shapefiles, make sure they have an up-to-date spatial index.
    • Esri GRID or file geodatabase are the best filesystem formats for raster data analysis, though this may vary by tool.
    • Use of ArcSDE (storing your GIS data in a RDBMS) may offer large performance advantages if you require multi-user access (read or write), especially if you are only accessing small portions of a large database (ArcSDE limits network traffic to just the features or raster tiles accessed.)
  8. Set your ArcGIS search indexing optionsto only run manually. For example:
    • Index new items every 180 minutes
    • Re-Index from scratch very 9999 days
  9. Modifying the snapping environment, or limiting the number of selected layers may help.
  10. If you can, avoid projecting on the fly (especially transformations between datums) with data that you are accessing across the network (especially base map services).
  11. Consider using base map layers to speed up drawing of background layers using caching. (Especially if those layers are on remote disks or are map services.)
  12. Try the Map Service toolbar to look for ways to optimize your map. (This tool is designed for help map service authors, but it can be used on the desktop too.)
  13. Make sure you have enough RAM. Our experiences is that 8GB is a minimum, 12 is better.
  14. Verify your video drivers are up to date and fully support OpenGL 2.0


ArcGIS Blog: Troubleshooting Slow Performance in ArcGIS Desktop

KB 31903: FAQ: Does ArcGIS 10 support multi-core processors and/or 64-bit Operating Systems?

KB 31672: HowTo: Increase performance to make ArcMap start and run faster

KB 36908: HowTo: Improve performance working in ArcMap and ArcCatalog

KB 40332: Changing the default GDB for new ArcMap documents in ArcGIS 10.0 SP5 and ArcGIS 10.1

KB 37736: FAQ: What are Base Map layers in ArcGIS Desktop 10?

KB 33098: FAQ: How can ArcMap symbology performance be improved and maintained?

KB 34043: HowTo: Improve printing or exporting performance

KB 23478: HowTo: Optimize display performance with nVidia's Quadro and Professional Solution graphics cards

KB 22668: HowTo: Increase performance displaying selected sets in ArcGIS sub-selected features from ArcSDE feature classes

NIM064296 - Browsing to a folder with many sub folders is slower in ArcGIS 10 than it is in ArcGIS 9.3.1. (Fixed in 10.0 SP5)

This very technical resource may be helpful: Enterprise GIS Performance and Scalability











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