In some instances, when attempting to pan or zoom in ArcMap, a considerable amount of time is spent waiting for the whole map to redraw itself.
Listed below are a few possible ways to decrease redraws and improve map drawing performance in ArcMap.
• Spatially index each layer prior to zooming or panning. This allows ArcMap to quickly pick out what is inside the rectangle users are trying to draw. ArcGIS uses spatial indexes to improve spatial query performance on feature classes.
• Make every layer visible only in a scale where it makes sense. For example, drawing a layer made for scale 1:1000 in scale 1:100000 takes a long time and users cannot probably see the details.
• Do not have many visible layers covering each other, otherwise all the layers are drawn but only the layer in front is visible.
• Use basemap layers. Basemap layers are only computed once - the first time users visit an extent at a map scale. The tiled views are used in subsequent map displays as users pan, zoom, and navigate their map, and because the views are precomputed, map display is optimized.
• Leverage caching in ArcGIS. Caching helps to reduce the number of trips to retrieve data, to precompute GIS results, and to reuse map displays during a session. To identify which is the right cache to use, refer to the following ArcGIS Help documentation page: ArcGIS Help: About ArcGIS caches