TopoToRaster Error

In running an automated process, I had a TopoToRaster repeatedly fail on me. The only input theme was a contour theme. The process ran fine when I used the envelope of the contour theme as the output extent but when I changed it to the envelope of a polygon theme, it would bomb. The polygon’s envelope was smaller than the contour theme.

ArcCatalog would bomb out without presenting any sort of useful message.

I determined eventually that If I set the left extent as 435210, the process would work if set the right extent to 446655 or greater but would bomb if I used 446654 or less. If the the left extent was 435209, the right extent had to be 446654 or greater.

The image below shows the contours (with vertexes) and the polygon theme I was using. The two circle graphics show the approximate extent I was clipping to.

I eventually wrote python script to do a series of tests with the intent of determining the pattern of what does and does not work. The unexpected benefit was I actually got some sort of error message back. Turns out it had to do with my lack of vertices–I densified my polylines and it ran fine. Something I should have thought of earlier but it was difficult lacking any feedback.

ArcMap-Excel Join Error

Came across a new ArcMap bug today. A staff member was trying to join an Excel 2007 file (.xlsx) to a point shapefile in ArcMap and it did not appear to be working. She only had Office 2003 on her machine so I tried it on my spanking new machine that has 2007 installed. Same result–the fields get appended but they are all blank.

I discovered, however, that when I had the table open, if I switched form showing ALL records to only the selected, Poof!!! The values filled in. From there I was able to successfully export the data to a new shapefile that always showed the values.

I have an inkling that the file name, which contained space and other special characters, may have been a factor.

August 11, 2010 Addendum:

I was just working with some more and, after joining a table to an Excel table, having all the fields look blank, I discovered that if I close and then re-open the table all looks good–all fields have values.

Another problem I had is that even after successfully joining a table to the Excel table and creating an XY Event Theme from it, I was unsuccessful in exporting it to either a shapefile or a personal geodatabase feature class.  My personal opinion at this point would be to convert the Excel file to a different format before working with it in ArcGIS.