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Extremely slow Basemap service response times

Question asked by diggs on Jun 4, 2012
Latest reply on Nov 29, 2018 by PCE_Lorion
I'm considering using the Understanding GIS: An ArcGIS Project Workbook for my undergraduate GIS class.  I'm an experienced ArcGIS user, having taught undergraduate GIS classes for over 15 years.  I've spent most of today (6/4/2012) testing some of the exercises (mostly chapter 1).  I've tested on 3 PCs (2 windows 7, 1 vista)--two have very fast internet (I did a speed test) and the other is my home PC (moderate internet speed).  I'm getting extremely slow response/refresh times when I use the ESRI map services with the tutorial data.  My slowest was a 9 and 1/2 minute load time for exercise 1a (end of exercise).  Panning across the page the refresh of the imagery layer and the L.A. river/L.A. boundary would take from 4 seconds to over 2 minutes (most of the time 15-25 seconds).  Twenty-five seconds is an eternity for a student!  I'm really concerned this book has a potential fatal flaw--it's dependence on ESRI streamed map services.

I've taught Web GIS--so I'm up to speed on how map services work, projection on the fly, hardware acceleration, etc.  If I turn off the tutorial data (which I believe are in WGS84, then the Web Mercator basemap(s) certainly run much faster.

I like the book and it's advanced introductory level (perfect for one of my classes).  It's well written and I like the project approach.  But the bottom line is that my students need to have reasonable response times when working with the tutorials. Patience is not a virtue of today's average undergraduate student!

Does anyone have any insight on this issue? Were the ESRI map servers slow today (6/4)?  I've got to make a decision in a few days.  Any suggestions?