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Bug: Sluggish performance when buffering rings and dissolving

Description

There is a known performance issue when the ArcMap Buffer Wizard is used to create multiple rings around each feature, or ring buffers, together with the option to dissolve overlapping buffers. The problem is most noticeable when buffering many features.

Cause

Dissolving buffers requires that overlapping buffer polygons be clipped, which is a geoprocessing operation. With ring buffers this operation becomes even more memory intensive. As the computer runs out of RAM and starts to use swap memory, the buffering process slows down considerably.

Workaround

To cut down on processing time do either or both of the following:

  • If creating buffers simply for display purposes, create separate buffers for each distance and order these in the Table of Contents (TOC). Organize the TOC so that the smaller distance buffers display on top of the larger distance buffers.
  • Change the buffer shape type from Rings to Disks using the ArcMap Advanced Settings Utility.

    A. Navigate to the Utilities folder under the ArcGIS installation directory; for example, C:\arcgis\arcexe81\Utilities.

    B. Double-click AdvancedArcMapSettings.exe.