Personal file gdb limited to 2gb memory for geoprocessing, union taking a very long time. Do I need to set up an enterprise gdb?

02-12-2020 03:52 PM
New Contributor

student arcgispro2.4.1 union‌


I am working on a senior project looking at fire occurrence in the United States. I have a polygon feature class with about 3.6 million fires that I am wanting to union, dissolve, and rasterize for further analysis. I want the output raster to contain a value for how many fires happened for each pixel (areas of overlapping polygons). 

When running the union tool for the wildfire polygons I've monitored the memory use using the arc pro diagnostic monitor and I have found that the memory use does not venture upwards of 2gb. I have read that personal gdb's are limited to 2gb (Tiled processing of large datasets—Appendices | Documentation). At the bottom of the page it indicates that enterprise gdbs can leverage more ram. I looked into changing the tile size for the geoprocessing, but if its still going to be limited to 2 GB of memory I don't see the benefit of doing so.

I have an advanced license for pro and have additional storage space to set up an enterprise gdb on my machine, but I lack any experience with enterprise gdb's. I am definitely open to learning because I like to tinker. However, if theres better way to get around the 2gb memory threshold please enlighten me. 

My workstation:

Processor: i7-4790k (4 cores 8 threads) @ 4.8 GHz

Memory: 32GB DDR3 1600 MHz

Graphics card: GTX 1050ti 4 GB 

Storage: OS : Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB SSD

              Workspace: Samsung 860 EVO 1 TB SSD.

I want to utilize my hardware. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 

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2 Replies
Esri Esteemed Contributor

Hi Zack Quarterman ,

I checked the linked and indeed it mentions that personal GDB and shapefiles restrict the usage of memory for some processes. PGDB (Old Access MDBs) and shapefiles are something from the past (although some people still disagree). If you are still using those, please don't. You mention Enterprise GDBs do not have this restriction, but also File GDB don't. It is best to move your data to a File GDB in you haven't already.

MVP Esteemed Contributor

ArcGIS Pro doesn't support connections to Personal Geodatabases (PGDB), so I am a bit confused with your description of the problem because it appears you are saying you are in fact using ArcGIS Pro and PGDBs.

The reference to personal geodatabases in the Pro documentation you link to is simply sloppy documentation on Esri's part.  Instead of revising that topic, they simply copy and pasted it from ArcMap and didn't clean up the invalid references to things like personal geodatabases in Pro.

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