Error: Spatial index grid is too small

Error Message

The following error message occurs when exporting a layer to an ArcSDE database:

"Error: Error exporting data. Spatial index grid is too small [output file name]"

This error message is followed by two additional message boxes:

"ArcMap Warning: Some records may not have been exported correctly" and

"Export Layer Data: There was an error exporting the layer".


When projecting data on-the-fly in ArcMap and exporting to a Geodatabase feature class, the new spatial index grid size is taken from the original, unprojected data. The dataframe projection is not taken into account. This may cause an inadequate grid size when exporting.

For example, assume you have some decimal degree data, you add it to ArcMap, and project your dataframe into to a UTM coordinate system. If you export this layer to a Geodatabase, (choosing the option to use the coordinate system of the dataframe for the new feature class), you will receive the above error messages.

Solution or Workaround

After exporting, use ArcCatalog to build an appropriate spatial index grid for the new Geodatabase feature class.

  1. Open ArcCatalog. Right-click on the feature class whose spatial index you want to modify.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click the Indexes tab.
  4. If there is already a spatial index, you must first delete it. If there is no spatial index, skip to step 6.
  5. Click Delete.
  6. Click Add.
  7. Type in the new index parameters.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Click OK to build the spatial index grid and close the dialog box.

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