I've lately been working on feature classes with a huge number of polygons (e.g. all of the Census blocks within the Chicago metro area). I've been needing to symbolize them by quantities a fair amount to display demographic information, but because there are so many polygons I receive the Maximum sample size reached. Not all records are being used. Use this sample or change maximum sample size. message every single time.

I know that I can can manually change the sample size by pressing the Sampling... button in the Classification window, but I'm wondering if it's possible to change the default sample size somewhere, so that I will no longer have to go through this whole rigmarole. I haven't been able to find anything in Esri's documentation.

1 Answer 1


There does happen to be a nim for the error.
esri bug tracker
ESRI Tech Article
I think this is what you are currently doing. Correct?
Have you seen this data reviewer help article?
"IF" arcmap does anything like this it seems the maximum is a moving target for different scenarios.
I have never noticed anything like that for vectors.
i see the max percent clip, max # rasters (drawn and for color matching), and max # of unique values to render (65536) in the raster tab in options.

Just took a look in the arcmap advanced settings utility.
C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Utilities\AdvancedArcMapSettings.exe (XP)
You could try the maximum number of classes (25) setting in the raster tab there.
Probably doesn't apply but it seems that it is similar in nature.
Also of NOTE: is the registry key documentation found there.
C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Utilities\ArcGIS Desktop Advanced Settings Registry Keys.pdf (XP)
And vote for this idea at esri ideas page

  • Yes, the method described in the Esri tech article is the workaround I've been using -- it's the only way I currently know of to change the sample size setting for symbology classification, but it has to be done every time you want to symbolize a large feature class. The default max sample size is 10,000 features, so you will receive the warning message any time there are more than that in the feature class being classified.
    – nmpeterson
    Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 20:51
  • If you verified that the 10k number were different for a differnt dataset. Then I think I would believe that the method used for data reviewer is how it is done with arcmap. If data reviewer uses the same method as arcmap I would bet that there is a registry setting for it.
    – Brad Nesom
    Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 21:00
  • 2
    ArcMap uses 10,000 as the default for every feature class when it comes to classification sampling. Opening the Classification window and clicking Sampling... opens up a small dialog box with a text field to enter a new max sample size, which defaults to 10,000. The dialog box also notes "The records from record one until the maximum sample size get considered for classifying data." It's not nearly as sophisticated as the method used by the data reviewer, as the main reason for this limit (I'm assuming) is speed.
    – nmpeterson
    Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 21:08
  • 1
    In the Arcmap Settings window it refers to a Map.Start file for the script to run whenever the program is opened. I wonder if this can be of any use. </musings>
    – Nathanus
    Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 22:01

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