Geoprocessing error translation – alternate solutions
Alright so you want to make some contours of your DEM and you are using ArcGIS 9.1 SP 2. You go to the spatial analyst menu and choose surface analysis and then contour and then, voila, you have locked up ArcGIS. So then you think – GP will solve this like it has on so many other occasions and suprise suprise you get this helpful error message:
Executing (Contour_1): Contour elev10m C:\data\\newModels\geodatabase\scratch.mdb\elev10countour 4 0 1
Start Time: Tue Oct 24 14:29:56 2006
An error was encountered while executing Contour.
(“esriGeoAnalyst.GridEngine”) Error in executing grid expression
Failed to execute (Contour_1).
End Time: Tue Oct 24 14:31:56 2006 (Elapsed Time: 2 minutes 0 seconds)
And you think the helpful part was that it chose to throw the error message after 2 minutes rather than 10 minutes later. Then you start to sweat a bit and wrack your brains, resist the urge to spark up AV3.3 and remember the raster calculator.
C:\temp\countours.shp = contours([hcpnccp10m], interval, 5)
and holy cow you actually have a countour coverage.
My Question ™ in this exercise is what is the difference in algorithms or routines between raster calculator (RC) and GP? I consistently get RC to work when GP fails. My sneaking suspicion is that RC is using something from Workstation while GP is using gerbils and bubble gum. Perhaps ESRI should make it easier to script RC.
update (20 minutes later): It seems the error may have been that I was asking GP to make a geodb bigger than 2 gigs which is a no-no. I am not sure if this is why since the error message from GP tells me nothing that helps tell me where to go next. But I could get GP to work by having it write to a shapefile and a grid contour of 6 rather than 4. So for now I take back some of the bad things I said about GP. But still in general RC just seems more rock solid than GP.