ArcMap frustrations of the day

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I really hate discovering silly problems in ArcGIS, especially as ESRI's documentation is not the easiest stuff in the world to use. Many of the solutions are things I discover by inference from the documentation. Here's this week's two:

Problem: I would like to Join a Table to a Shapefile / Layer. (Specifically, I'd like to Join a table that has tax parcel id / address / owner address records, exported from the City Assesor's database, to the County's parcel Layer.) Obviously, I right-click the Layer, and use "Joins and Relates -> Join..." I receive no error message, and the Layer has all of the fields from the Table included in it. With no data. Just blank fields.

Solution: You can't Join a Table that has spaces in the filename. Edit the Table's filename, then run the Join.

Problem: I would like to Select By Attributes records from my now successfully Joined Layer. (Specifically, I'd like to Select all those records where the Property Address matches the Owner Address - i.e. highlight owner occupied parcels.) I set up my query accordingly. ArcMap crashes.

Solution: ArcMap apparently doesn't want to perform a Select By Attributes on a Layer with a Join. Which is strange - why would I join fields to a layer if I didn't immediately want to, you know, use those fields. The solution: take that Layer you just Joined the table to, right-click, "Export Data". That's right, you have to make an entirely new Layer, rather than just using the joint layer you've got.


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*bang head against wall*

I cannot tell you how much of my life has been lost trying to deal with problems like the one that you describe above. Sadly, I find that as an user/instructor of GIS, I spend more time trying to problem solve stupid errors with students instead of actually discussing research design or the results of their projects. And since the ESRI documentation is about as good as toilet paper, I usually end up using the old, click-this-click-that-click-this-again-until-it-works method, which actually does work, eventually.


Get old fashioned

Well, you could always get out the onion skin and colored pencils. That way if you make a mistake it's your fault, not the software/hardware!

Oh, but you can make your

Oh, but you can make your mistakes much *faster* with software!