background geoprocessing skepticism

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03-30-2011 10:35 AM
New Contributor II
The background geoprocessing in theory is a great feature, but I'm finding some inconsistencies which is making me skeptical of it and I'll probably just turn it off. I'm wondering if others are seeing the same things, and I'm hoping someone from ESRI comments on this.

First, sometimes the progress percentage isn't visible. You see the name of the tool running (e.g. clip... clip... clip...) and every so often you get a percent progress, but it appears and disappears so fast you can't see what it is. This doesn't seem consistent though. Sometimes you don't see any progress at all. Right now I'm running clip and the percentage progress is showing up after every "clip" (clip1%... clip 1%...clip 1%...).

I also just don't trust what the scrolling percent progress is telling me. Right now I'm clipping a rather large dataset, and "clip 1%..." keeps scrolling across the screen. What happens sometimes is that the interface will keep saying that the tool has run say, 20%, and it will stay there; then after a while the tool will just be done and the geoprocessing has successfully completed, even though the percent progress was "stuck" at 20% most of the time. In cases when it's taking a long time to complete and the interface keeps reporting the same percent progress, this makes me question whether it's just the interface or if the actual geoprocessing tool running is simply hanging.

This is what is happening right now as I am clicking this large dataset - it's been stuck on 1% progress for about 30 minutes, and I've worked with this data before in 9.3. It doesn't take this long to clip, so I suspect the actual clip tool is hanging. Once I suspect that the tool is hanging, as far as I know I have to quit ArcMap to stop it. I've let it continue to run as I'm writing this, and it finally reported the error 999999.
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20 Replies
Regular Contributor III
Thanks for the feedback.
We should actually update the Ideas site to reflect the work we're doing on it.

Internally we've made some improvements to the message bar, but we haven't finalized anything.

Right now these changes will be in 10.1 (if you subscribe to the 10.1 beta, the release after beta 2 will have some of these changes). For 10.1 final we should have the background progress indicator in a state we're happy with based on current feedback.
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Occasional Contributor II
Awesome, thanks for the instant reply!  I'm glad this is coming soon!
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New Contributor
I tried to cancel a background process that was simply Mosaicking to a New Raster 5 images.  The background processing window went into something like an infinite loop displaying "Cancelling...Cancelling...".  I had to kill the process with Tasl Manager. We are going to officially to the other users in our organization to turn off background geoprocessing.  We will keep testing.  Maybe with the x64 version, the functionally will be improved.  Otherwise, 10.1 is great!
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Regular Contributor
Hi there

I have upgraded to ArcMap 10.1 Standard. Can anyone tell me where the percentage completed figures have gone or were they removed based on customer feedback? I'm using ArcCatalog in this case.

Kind regards

Tim
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MVP Esteemed Contributor
Some positive feedback...

I was just messing with with 10.1 background GP and really like how when you double click on the background icon the results window opens up and shows you the current processing there.

Some tools simply can't give you a percent because the process doesn't lend itself to estimates - but this is a nice improvement. Would be nice if more tools provided an estimate even if it's an inaccurate one, just so we know it's working.

Followers of this thread may want to know that Esri plans to add 64 bit background processing as an optional additional install for Desktop 10.1 SP 1, which will let you run models and scripts in 64 bit. This could be pretty useful, especially for big geospatial data processes that can crash 32-bit geoprocessing because of memory requirements.
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Regular Contributor III
Followers of this thread may want to know that Esri plans to add 64 bit background processing as an optional additional install for Desktop 10.1 SP 1, which will let you run models and scripts in 64 bit. This could be pretty useful, especially for big geospatial data processes that can crash 32-bit geoprocessing because of memory requirements.


Cool!!!!!!
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Occasional Contributor
I like this idea.

I have to ask though, am I the only person that sees a substantial amount of bottom window margin real estate available for information?  Why not use that space down there, instead of just the tiny chunk used now?...


Yes Yes and Yes!! Doing some geoprocessing tasks, the task name scrolls across and the percentage flicks across too fast to see.
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Regular Contributor
Some positive feedback...
Some tools simply can't give you a percent because the process doesn't lend itself to estimates - but this is a nice improvement. Would be nice if more tools provided an estimate even if it's an inaccurate one, just so we know it's working.

Followers of this thread may want to know that Esri plans to add 64 bit background processing as an optional additional install for Desktop 10.1 SP 1, which will let you run models and scripts in 64 bit. This could be pretty useful, especially for big geospatial data processes that can crash 32-bit geoprocessing because of memory requirements.


Unless I am mistaken in 10 all tools that had a background process, provided an estimate even if it was an inaccurate one. Over the years I have looked at the progress bars in different applications and often thought they were not great at estimating. However now that no bar exists at all, I think I miss it. I guess inaccurate is better than no accuracy.

The other day I ran a geoprocess that took almost 3 hours. I didn't have a clue how long it would take or any idea when it might be finished until it had finished.

I guess the problem is that no one has been able to design a progress bar which Incorporates the fact different parts of a process take different lengths of time.

Offering 64 bit scripts will be good. Personally I don't have a 64bit computer at work but can see the usefulness of it.
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New Contributor II
not sure how.
but can we cancel the current process of the enabled background geoprocessing?

with background geoprocessing disabled, we can simply cancel the process.
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MVP Esteemed Contributor
not sure how.
but can we cancel the current process of the enabled background geoprocessing?


Yes, you can do that be opening the Results window and right clicking on the running tool. This is also a way to see all the messages as the tool runs.

ArcGIS Help 10.1: Foreground and background processing

(See heading "Canceling a tool in the background")
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