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I work for a state government's fisheries service, and lately we've been digitizing a lot of our regulatory boundaries within the state's waters that we'd like to service out on web maps. Unfortunately since a lot of these boundaries are in a bay and follow the shoreline, the polygons contain a lot of vertices which greatly inflates the file size of the shapefiles.

I know I can use the generalize tool to simplify the polygons, but as these polygons represent legal boundaries, we need to maintain their accuracy as much as possible. Are there any other tricks I could use to reduce the file size without risking spatial accuracy?

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I would try file gdb. you can set compression. and the move to web is easily maintained. –  Brad Nesom Feb 5 '13 at 16:36

2 Answers 2

1) remove attributes and condense text attributes 2) Load them into a geodatabase feature class and then use arccatalog to right click on the geodatabase and compress. "If you frequently add and delete data, you should compact your file or personal geodatabase on a monthly basis. You should also compact a geodatabase after any large-scale change. Compacting tidies up storage by reordering records and eliminating unused space. After compacting, the data in each file can be accessed more efficiently. Compacting also reduces the size of each file—it’s possible to be able to reduce the size of a geodatabase by one-half or more." from esri 3)Keep a simplified copy of the data as each poly has a unique ID and just use the simplified version for day to day tasks

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Try reducing the lengths of attribute fields, if your data allows for this. DBF will "pad" character fields out to the full width of the field, which in some cases makes the DBF much larger than it needs to be.

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