What is the best way to deal with large contour vector files?

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12-18-2019 12:19 PM
New Contributor III

I have a large TIF (50GB) containing elevation data that I need to generate 5m contours from. What is the best way to manage this? 

Running contour on the entire TIF (if it even works without crashing) will create a file too large to be useful. I could tile the raster and run contour on each tile, but then management of this becomes a bit of an issue as there doesn't seem to be a vector equivalent of the mosaic dataset (am I wrong about that?). 

How do people manage large sets of contour files so that other people can find what they are looking for? 

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MVP Frequent Contributor

Generally you would want to tile this. I usually split the raster using TopoQuad boundaries, you could use quarter-quad as well. In terms of management, you could add all of the output contours into a GDB feature dataset, or publish them all as a single map service or even better, a vector tile layer (as long as there is no expectation to label the index contours). 

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Esri Regular Contributor

The disk size does not say much, how many columns/rows does the raster have id a better indicator.

What will the output feature class be used for?

I would suggest one of these 2 methods.

  1. Use SplitRaster with a 1 cell overlap and contour each raster
  2. specify max_vertices_per_per_feature in the Contour tool

-Steve

MVP Frequent Contributor

Generally you would want to tile this. I usually split the raster using TopoQuad boundaries, you could use quarter-quad as well. In terms of management, you could add all of the output contours into a GDB feature dataset, or publish them all as a single map service or even better, a vector tile layer (as long as there is no expectation to label the index contours). 

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Esri Regular Contributor

Matthew

Please can you respond to this post or email me as to which route you decided upon.

Thanks

-Steve

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New Contributor III

Hi Steve,

So I actually handled the processing using FME to create 60 DEM tiles and contour each tile individually. My plan is now to do what Thomas has suggested and add the output to a GDB Feature dataset.

To manage the 60 different contour layers I'll add the 60 DEM tiles to a mosaic dataset, and export the footprints to use as a labeled index/guide so that people can ID and select the correct files.

Is that a reasonable solution?

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Esri Regular Contributor

Matthew

Do the raster tiles overlap by 1 cell?

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