Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a problem when trying to load raster data (a TIF) in ArcMap. ArcMap 10 instantly shuts down and the well known window appears "ArcGis Desktop has encountered a serious application error and is unable to continue.Does anyone know why? What is the solution? i have windows 7 32 bit,1giga video card .

share|improve this question
Any info on your data? Does it have assigned georeference and in what way, with what software(previous ver. of Arc or something else) it was assigned? Size of data? 32 or 64 bits, this does not matter- Arc is 32. Graphic card does not matter. RAM amount does matter, but it is rather unlikely to be an issue here. Firstly, check your service pack. SP 4 is available, but I recommend to stop upgrading on SP 3, due some bugs in 4. – Tomek Apr 30 '12 at 12:00

Loading raster data into ArcMap is a pretty standard thing, it is improbable that it is a bug with Arc itself. Most probably corrupt/faulty data or somethings up with your Arc install. My suggestions to you would be the following:

1) Check the data, make sure it is not corrupt. Perhaps try downloading it again

2) Reinstall Arc

3) If you are desperate and in a rush, then you can try a Open Source alternative such as Quantum GIS

Edit: As an after thought the size of the data file might be something to do with it. Try loading a smaller/different file and see if the error is reproduced.

share|improve this answer
I'd concur with this. If its instantly crashing its because you either have bad data or a bad Arc install. Although unlike Zero_Qualms I wouldn't rule out a bug. Chances are its a combination of ArcGIS bug in reaction to bad data (it should never crash, even with bad data). You may wish to send this to your ESRI support if you have it. – GIS-Jonathan Apr 30 '12 at 11:12

It is possible to overwhelm the 4gig memory limit available to arc. I have encountered it building mosaic dataset overviews. Depending in the size if your tiff this may be your issue. Try loading smaller images before condiming your install of arc. 64 bit os and more than 4gig ram still crashes when arc reaches 4gig mark. The generic error you describe is the same one it gave me.

share|improve this answer
Based on the description, it's unlikely to be lack of RAM. We're told it instantly shuts down. It takes time to read in 3GB of data. – GIS-Jonathan Apr 30 '12 at 11:10

Overwhelming Arc in a 32bit system is one option. Alternatively, I used to get this problem with ArcGIS9.x when I used rasters with a lot of attribute values (>65536). Rasters with this number of attribute values also tend to be large. The old way to fix this was to hack the registry. In Arc10, there is a handy utility usually found on this path: C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Utilities\AdvancedArcMapSettings.exe. You should have a PDF documentation file in there too.

Go to the raster tab and bump up the "Maximum number of attribute entries". Using powers-of-two values is not essential but I think it makes sense. I have pushed this up to 20x without undue issues. High settings can impact raster loading speed and you need admin access to make this change.

share|improve this answer
Based on the description, it's unlikely to be lack of RAM. We're told it instantly shuts down. It takes time to read in 3GB of data. – GIS-Jonathan Apr 30 '12 at 11:10

ArcGIS 10 sometimes has trouble with .tif files. Try installing the latest service pack, this should correct the problem (it worked for me).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.