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Spring 2011 Edition

Best Practices for Creating and Using Terrain Datasets

  1. For lidar data, use LAS rather than ASCII formatted data.
  2. Because personal geodatabases have a 2 GB limit, use a file or enterprise geodatabase.
  3. Terrain datasets must be stored in a feature dataset.
  4. Use projected coordinates; geographic coordinates, such as decimal degrees, are not supported.
  5. Z-values should be in the same units of measure as the x,y values.
  6. Do not build or perform schema editing on a terrain in an edit session.
  7. The data in the terrain dataset should be contiguous.
  8. Use terrain dataset groups to boost performance at smaller scales.
  9. Don't use large single-point feature classes. Instead, use a multipoint feature class for large point collections (i.e., any collection of more than 500,000 points).
  10. Ensure feature classes that contribute to the terrain dataset have correct extents.
  11. Avoid adding polygon features using polygon-based SFTypes where possible; they are more expensive to enforce than breaklines.
  12. Use as few feature classes as possible. For example, instead of using a feature class with 50 features, use one with multipoint features instead.
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