The Erase tool hangs if the erased features have many large overlapping polygons.
Last Published: November 9, 2015ArcGIS for Desktop
Bug ID Number
October 7, 2015
November 24, 2020
ArcGIS for Desktop
Operating System Version
Will Not Be Addressed
The development team has considered the issue or request and concluded it will not be addressed. The issue's Additional Information section may contain further explanation.
This is an unfortunate, non-real world case that causes the internal engine to take a huge amount of time to process the data. It is a combination of a massive number of large overlapping polygons, combined with some very poor data containing many small and sliver like polygons. Probably the worst case scenario for data processing and certainly a big challenge for the internal engine.
The internal engine that does this processing does not perform a one by one or pairwise erase, nor can it perform a check up front to see if the result will be an empty output. What it does do is combine all the data from both inputs into a topologically correct fabric in order to maintain the input data integrity. This is where it is taking all its time. The data is a challenge on it's own (due to the massive overlap, the tiny slivers, etc), combined together its a bigger challenge for the engine to sort through. It will complete at some point, but not using 32bit and only on a 64bit machine with lots of RAM (I did a quick analysis and this will probably need at least 30GB of RAM to deal with the creation of the fabric due to all the new sliver polygons that end up getting generated).