I'm using a huge database on arcgis desktop 9.3.1 and every time I do a pan/zoom I have to wait 0.5-1 minute for the whole database to redraw itself. Is there any way to decrease the amount of redraws ( like making the program redraw only once every five pan actions)?
Be sure to have all your layers spatially indexed. Then ArcMap (or any other GIS software) fast can pick out what is inside the rectangle you are trying to draw.
Next is to make every layer visible only in a scale where they make sence. If you are drawing a layer made for scale 1:1000 in scale 1:100000 it will take a lot of time and you will probably not see the details anyway.
The third thing is to not have many layers visible that are covering each other. Then all of them will be drawn (I think that is valid for Arc software too) but you only see the one in the front.
If it still is slow you are probably sending the data from another computer with a too bad connection.
Alternatively you are pushing the database to far. Then, maybe you should look at other software solutions (they might be open and free ;-) )
I guess you could stop it from redrawing automatically, but I am not sure that is what you really want to do.
If you are using a database alongside other data, it may be worth having them all in the same projection. This way, ArcMap doesn't have to reproject on the fly. Also ensure that the data within the database is all in the same projection (this will be enforced in Feature datasets, but projections can vary throughout other divisions of geodatabases).
There are a couple of options I think may help you.
1- You can simply pause drawing (the || symbol in the lower left corner of the data view window). When you do this you can still pan and zoom, although obviously you can't see what you are panning or zooming to.
2 - You can use visible scale ranges to limit the rendering of specific layers to only when you are zoomed in/out of certain ranges. If you are repeatedly panning or zooming to similar locations you can make spatial bookmarks as well (and at those scale levels set the applicable layers you want rendered). (Nicklas's answer beat me too this point)
I imagine others can give suggestions about reducing file complexity, it may also help others if you describe the type of data you are rendering.
I like to use the MXDPerfStat tool when working with 9.x MXDs to analyze where performance improvements with drawing can be made. In 10.0, there are some similar functions with the Map Service Publishing toolbar that analyze layer performance with the goal of optimizing maps for ArcGIS Server.
Scott La vanne gets the prize. "Toggle Draft Mode" is key when using multiple data frames in a large layout.
Unlike the pause button, which grays out the whole screen, it grays out each data frame individually, allowing movement, resizing, and text/graphic/legend/north arrow manipulation.
Until I discovered that I was pulling my hair out when making large maps because of the slow redraw speed at EVERY SINGLE CLICK.