FIX YOUR TRACE TOOL!!

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05-07-2014 11:37 AM
ArthurKretzschmar
New Contributor II
The trace tool in ArcGIS 10.2.1.3497 does not work all the time, or is very finicky about it when it does.  I have been trying the whole day to encompass an area that is about 100 sq meters using the trace function from parcel lines so that I can create an easement.  However, no matter what I do, the trace tool never even shows that its tracing.  The few remote random times I do get it to start tracing, I have to pan around and this causes it to "break".  I have shutdown and restarted numerous times, and am completely frustrated at this point.  I even tried to use the old method (which worked all the time ESRI *cough, cough) of selecting what I'd like to trace and it still will not pick that it is supposed to be tracing that.  I've come to the point where I am drawing multiple polygons and merging them together, but still have not managed to finish off this area.

I have checked for geometry issues and have checked to make sure that all nodes are snapped together.  I have also tried drawing a polygon in another layer in the hopes that I could just get that to work and then copy/paste/merge them.  No go on that either.

Please fix your tools so they work the way they are supposed to.

~a frustrated GIS Senior Analyst
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10 Replies
DanPatterson_Retired
MVP Esteemed Contributor
File a tech support issue...venting on the forum will bring no resolution (cough cough)
MarcoBoeringa
MVP Regular Contributor
File a tech support issue...venting on the forum will bring no resolution (cough cough)


I do wish ESRI staff were more active here on the forums to listen and target this kind of posts that may indicate (serious) issues. Some are, but quite a number of posts that would deserve some attention of ESRI staff, go unnoticed.

The amount of traffic here on the forums is not that unwieldy (in fact: I think it is very manageable...), that the big pool of ESRI employees would have a tough time keeping up with it. Far from it! It is not Facebook here...
RichardFairhurst
MVP Honored Contributor
This is almost certainly related to the new snapping options that don't really work when there are large numbers of feature layers, large numbers of features in the view, large size differences in features within a layer, etc.  Lots of things break it or slow it down to the point of being unusable.  Try the Editor Options and set the option to use Classic Snapping.  Then open the Classic Snapping Window that will be available from the Editor context menu to set the actual layers and portions of features you really want to snap to and try tracing it again.  Hopefully that will solve the problem.

I agree the ALL CAPs title and expressions of frustration make this post a bit of a rant.  However, I think this post shows that real effort has gone into attempts to diagnose and fix the problem prior to turning to the forums and that this is a perfectly legitimate issue to discuss on the forum, whether or not the tone is to everyone's liking.  In any case, I am no stranger to the frustration of installing an ArcGIS "upgrade" that prevents me from getting any work done and that wastes far more of my time than I can afford.
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SeanJones
Esri Regular Contributor
Personally I�??ve always viewed these forums as a user to user venue rather than a direct tech support site. Esri employees may occasionally chime in but more likely you�??ll get responses from other users based on their technical expertise, experience and general interest in the topic. A more detailed FAQ or site guideline from us would certainly clear up the confusion as well set expectations on replies and conduct while posting. For example, when I�??ve posted to other sites I generally find that titles with all caps and exclamation marks turn away the people that may actually help you.

In reply to the original post, since this looks like a data specific issue, I would recommend contacting tech support and send the data in. Help us to improve the software for all users.
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V_StuartFoote
MVP Frequent Contributor
OFF Topic Alert:cool:
Sean,
Personally I�??ve always viewed these forums as a user to user venue rather than a direct tech support site. Esri employees may occasionally chime in but more likely you�??ll get responses from other users based on their technical expertise, experience and general interest in the topic.


That answer rubs me the wrong way on so many facets. It was most certainly not the case with the old "Discussion Forums".  And in truth general Esri employee participation in the Forum HAS dropped to alarmingly low levels, there are some stalwarts--Melita Kennedy, Vince Angelo, and Jason Scheirer come to mind (but there are others just too few). 

I understand there are practical reasons for this as the ArcGIS product line has grown and contract based support has become a product line at the Regional offices. But with that growth has come the dilution of Esri employee participation in support channels with emergence of Communities, Blogs, RSS feeds, GIS Wiki, ArcGIS Ideas, various Help channels, etc. But the sum effect is that Esri is NOT holding up its end on product support of individual users. For example, the highly touted Blogs are anemic--take your own contributions as an example, 233 Forum posts to date and 27 Answers; but only 1 blog item posted by Rhonda Glennon on January 28, 2011.  No one expects a product engineer to spend an inordinate amount of time on direct technical support--writing clear help documents, KB articles, and the occasional white paper should be a primary focus--we understand that. We generally recognize that participation in the forums by Esri employees (by all but Jim Barry) IS voluntary. But with the release cycles accelerating across all product components--maintaining a one post a day average personal commitment to the Forums does not seem like too much to ask.


A more detailed FAQ or site guideline from us would certainly clear up the confusion as well set expectations on replies and conduct while posting.


Not sure I'd agree with that. And I don't think the User Advocacy Group would be anxious to move further away from the Forums where a lot of their contacts and most of the ArcGIS Ideas originate.

For example, when I�??ve posted to other sites I generally find that titles with all caps and exclamation marks turn away the people that may actually help you.


The actual post was not an issue. Received in the spirit it was posted--light hearted frustration--a common situation as we have gone through Esri release churn!

In reply to the original post, since this looks like a data specific issue, I would recommend contacting tech support and send the data in. Help us to improve the software for all users.


Perhaps, but as most users and designated technical contacts will attest--Esri's tech support channels are well meaning and responsive, but not especially helpful.  We've also seen the growth of GIS StackExchange as a venue for product neutral GIS technical support that handles a whole lot of Esri specific issues.  But, making the call for help here remains the most likely channel for getting responsive and accurate resolution to usage and configuration issues.  Would simply observe that it would be more so if more Esri product engineers and support technicians would resume volunteering their time to support the Esri Forums as THE premier resource for ArcGIS support.

Regards,

Stuart
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MarcoBoeringa
MVP Regular Contributor
For example, the highly touted Blogs are anemic--take your own contributions as an example, 233 Forum posts to date and 27 Answers; but only 1 blog item posted by Rhonda Glennon on January 28, 2011.


Personally, I can live with a not-to-active "Blog". Blogs are just what someone wants to write about, not necessarily targeted at my specific problems, hence there is a chance of a very active blog actually "not being helpful", while the Forums allow the user to start their "own" topic (I do like to read the Blogs now and then though!).

No one expects a product engineer to spend an inordinate amount of time on direct technical support--writing clear help documents, KB articles, and the occasional white paper should be a primary focus--we understand that. We generally recognize that participation in the forums by Esri employees (by all but Jim Barry) IS voluntary. But with the release cycles accelerating across all product components--maintaining a one post a day average personal commitment to the Forums does not seem like too much to ask.


Agree entirely. I don't expect ESRI staff to dedicate as much time as some of us (MVPs or not) voluntary do, but ESRI staff could be more active. For example, that Vince is more or less holding up the "Geodatabase & ArcSDE" subforum on its own, while there must be a substantial group of ESRI developers involved in geodatabase / ArcSDE development, is a sign on the wall.

By the way, a very nice example of why the Forums can be a primary channel for support, is the thread below that Vince answered. The original question is so specialized, it would probably have taken a long trip through official "Technical Support" channels to get answered. A waste of time and money for the one posing the question, but also for ESRI Technical Support itself. This is a prime example where more participation by ESRI staff could actually help in freeing up support personnel for those cases where it really matters to have direct contact with ESRI technical staff.

ArcSDE C-API SE_stream_calculate_table_statistics() crash with Oracle


At the opposite end, there is also a plethora of "non-specialized", "How-to-do-this?" newbie type of questions here on the Forums, that gets easily answered by anyone more experienced. This is also where the Forums can excel as a support platform.

But, making the call for help here remains the most likely channel for getting responsive and accurate resolution to usage and configuration issues.  Would simply observe that it would be more so if more Esri product engineers and support technicians would resume volunteering their time to support the Esri Forums as THE premier resource for ArcGIS support.


+1
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JohnSobetzer
Frequent Contributor
Interesting thread on ESRI Forum participation; it deserves it's own thread.

As for the awful and wonderful trace tool, here's some suggestions when you have problems.

1. As noted, use classic snapping.
2. If you have a lot of features that the trace tool can switch to, turn off those you don't need.  This also gets rid of their vertices when starting the snap.
3. Watch your snapping tolerance.  It typically is in pixels, and hence how fine grained your screen and zoom in scale are for the work at hand matters every time you click/touch.
4. Zoom in to keep the line from jumping features; you can use the < and > to zoom back and forth without having to change your tool.  If you have to switch to the pan or zoom, you have to re-click the tool to get it back to work.  See 7 too on this.
5. If the lines or edges you trace have gaps, even at a fine scale, that may cause the tool to fail.  It seems odd but sometimes the trace tool will jump gaps, and it always seems to be to another feature when it does that, but never in the one you are tracing.
6. Whether it is a real gap or not, sometimes you have to switch to the straight segment, click/touch, and then restart the trace even if you didn't really create a straight line segment.
7. If you are tracing features with a very large number of vertices the trace tool can slow down; it requires a fair amount of processing, so your computer matters.  A series of traces zoomed in might work.  By that I mean you zoom in, run your trace to cover part of your work, click/touch to stop, pan, click/touch to restart (and get a fresh cache? of the vertices, and then keep doing this until finished.
8. Sometimes other tools just work better.   If you have ArcGIS Advanced/ArcInfo the Construct Features taking into account existing features, or the split tool, work great.  If you have lines to match, a simple copy and paste may be in order.
9. If you are using the trace tool you are using it as part of another tool like autocomplete, and there are known issues with it in some versions of ArcMap.
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MelitaKennedy
Esri Notable Contributor
Stuart,

I think you're viewing the old forums with a lot of nostalgia. This same issue (of limited Esri employee participation) came up many times. In fact, in the last few years, UAG (User Advocacy Group) members and other Technical Support members were relatively more active on these forums than the old ones. That's declined a bit, but I haven't heard why.

Melita
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RobertBorchert
Frequent Contributor III
Switch to Classic snapping and hold down the space bar while tracking.  It disables snapping.

Often I have found that the trace tool will not jump a gap in features, so you may have to manually place a vertice at a gap.



The trace tool in ArcGIS 10.2.1.3497 does not work all the time, or is very finicky about it when it does.  I have been trying the whole day to encompass an area that is about 100 sq meters using the trace function from parcel lines so that I can create an easement.  However, no matter what I do, the trace tool never even shows that its tracing.  The few remote random times I do get it to start tracing, I have to pan around and this causes it to "break".  I have shutdown and restarted numerous times, and am completely frustrated at this point.  I even tried to use the old method (which worked all the time ESRI *cough, cough) of selecting what I'd like to trace and it still will not pick that it is supposed to be tracing that.  I've come to the point where I am drawing multiple polygons and merging them together, but still have not managed to finish off this area.

I have checked for geometry issues and have checked to make sure that all nodes are snapped together.  I have also tried drawing a polygon in another layer in the hopes that I could just get that to work and then copy/paste/merge them.  No go on that either.

Please fix your tools so they work the way they are supposed to.

~a frustrated GIS Senior Analyst
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