Sometimes the responsiveness of ArcMap in the cloud environment is less than users would like, leading to frustration and slower work. Here are some tips that may improve matters.
General IT measures
Your internet connection needs to be above 80 Mbps to get good performance from the Interpine cloud environment.
If in doubt, test your speed at www.speedtest.net
Connecting your computer to the internet via an ethernet cable is usually faster than connecting with WiFi – if your internet speed is marginal, or if you would just like to see if it makes a difference, try connecting via an ethernet cable.
Do you need to run it?
You don’t always need ArcMap to run GeoMaster. If you want to look up a non-spatial attribute, say the year a stand was planted or create reports, you can launch GeoMaster alone. This is faster than running the GeoMaster connected to the GIS.
The opposite also applies: you don’t have to run GeoMaster when you run ArcMap. The attributes of the patch layer include some of the basic information from GeoMaster.
Use Geodatabases where possible. Spatial data is faster and more stable when loading from a geodatabase than a shapefile.
Don’t connect to data sources outside the cloud environment, for example to a drive on your company system, because that really slows things down. The exception is connecting to web services, for example the LINZ aerial imagery web service, which are designed to be pulled across an internet connection; Interpine’s remote desktop is internet-connected in its own right.
If you are using new raster data, use the tools in ArcCatalog to build pyramids for the rasters. Pyramids are generalisations of the raster data at different scales. They can take a while to build, but it saves time when viewing the raster in an .mxd, because you get the generalised view at the scale you are at, instead of your .mxd slowly drawing every last pixel in the raster, which you can’t resolve with the human eye anyway, unless you are looking at scales under 1:100.
The tool is called Build Pyramids; Interpine can help you find and run it if need be. Pyramids only need to be created once, and most imagery from commercial suppliers will come with pyramids already attached.
Keep your geoprocessing history short. Start an ArcMap document and go to Geoprocessing -> Options. Set the geoprocessing history to one day:
Clear the display cache from your most frequently used map projects (mxds), and do this reasonably often, at least every tenth time you start the mxd. Go to Customise -> ArcMap options, then the Display Cache tab. Click Clear Cache (it may not drop all the way to zero).
When you close a .mxd file, first tick off raster layers, like aerial imagery or canopy height models, and large vector data, such as the land parcels layer, then save the mxd. The .mxd will re-open faster.
Set scale ranges on your raster layers and large vector layers.
Normally, if a layer is turned on (checked) in the table of contents, ArcMap will draw it. However, as you zoom out, it may become difficult to see the more detailed information, or as you zoom in, information may become too coarse. While you can turn off a layer, this may be inconvenient, especially if your map contains several layers or if you change the scale frequently as you work. Layers can be set to automatically display only within the appropriate scale. You can set a layer’s visible scale range on the General tab of the Layer Properties dialog box. Whenever the scale of the data frame is outside the layer’s visible scale range, the layer will not draw. This will increase the map performance.
If a layer isn’t drawing because it has a visible scale range set, you’ll see a dimmed scale bar under the layer’s check box in the table of contents/layer list.
Group layers are also a useful shortcut when you need to set visibility scale ranges for more than one layer. Often it makes sense to create group layers for each scale range within which your map will display data. The scale range within which a group layer is set to display features overrides the scale range of any layers within the group layer. To further refine the level of detail shown within your map, you can set any of the layers within a group layer to turn on or off at scales within the scale range of the group layer.
Right-click the layer name, then choose Properties. In the General tab, tick the button Don’t show layer when zoomed.
Setting a minimum visible scale for a layer = if you zoom out beyond this scale, the layer will not be visible
Setting a maximum visible scale for a layer = if you zoom in beyond this scale, the layer will not be visible
To clear the zoom scale, tick the Show layer at all scales button
Mxd projects don’t live forever. If you have tried the other tips and still get poor performance from a specific .mxd, keep your poor performance .mxd open and open a new blank .mxd. Drag your layers across from the old .mxd to the new .mxd, and save it with a new name.
You can also try the MXD Doctor, which you can access from the Start menu in the remote desktop. MXD Doctor is intended for extracting valid entities from broken .mxd files. However, you can also use it to retrieve entities from valid .mxd files as a way of copying things from one .mxd file to another. Before using MXD Doctor, Create a backup of the broken file and, if you’re using an existing file as the target file, create a backup of the target file too.