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About a month ago we made the huge jump from ArcGIS 10.1 to 10.6.

Just recently we started noticing some odd behavior with graphics. Namely if you draw a graphic (say a polygon) on the map and then change the map's spatial reference the graphic disappears. Draw another polygon and then change the map's spatial reference and THAT graphic disappears. In short a graphic is only visible when its spatial reference matches that of the map.

I wondered if that was the way it always was so I went back and tested this on ArcGIS 10.1 and the oddity was not observed. Wondering if other users see this same issue in 10.6 or other versions between 10.1 and 10.

Fairly simple steps to reproduce:

  1. Open ArcMap and add a country or continent feature class.
  2. Set the map to wgs84.
  3. Draw a graphic.
  4. Change the map to Robinson World.
  5. Draw a graphic.
  6. Change map between wgs84 and Robinson.

Notice that the only graphic that is visible is the one generated in that spatial ref. The expected result is that all graphics should be projected on the fly. In ArcGIS 10.1 the results are as expected (ie all graphics get projected on the fly) but ArcGIS 10.6 graphics disappear when changing the map coordinate system.

  • That is odd, are you drawing your graphic in the active data frame or on the layout? When (if) you switch back to the previous spatial reference does the graphic reappear? – Michael Stimson Jun 25 '18 at 2:50
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    When you say "change the map's spatial reference" do you mean "change the data frame's spatial reference"? When you draw the graphic are you doing that in Data View or Layout View? What are the precise steps that you perform in each version starting from when you start ArcMap and before you create the graphic? – PolyGeo Jun 25 '18 at 2:51
  • The map only has one data frame so yes I am drawing it to the focus map of that data frame. I am also doing this in Data View. – sinDizzy Jun 25 '18 at 3:01
  • Also added a step by step. – sinDizzy Jun 25 '18 at 3:11
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    This sounds like a bona fide bug in ArcGIS 10.6, I suggest you log it with Esri support. – Michael Stimson Jun 25 '18 at 3:22
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I cannot say what happened at earlier versions but I performed these steps using what I believe to be the same procedure as yours using ArcMap 10.6 on Windows 7 SP1, and all steps performed in Data View:

  1. Open ArcMap 10.6 with a Blank Map and add a shapefile of the Natural Earth countries.
  2. Zoomed to Australia
  3. Used the Properties of the Layers data frame to check that its Coordinate System was set to WGS 1984
  4. Used the Draw toolbar, to draw a Rectangle around the three peninsulas in South Australia.
  5. Used the Properties of the Layers data frame to change its Coordinate System to Robinson (world).
  6. The rectangular graphic is still present, but distorted, as expected
  7. Used the Draw toolbar, to draw a Circle in the centre of Australia.
  8. Used the Properties of the Layers data frame to change its Coordinate System back to WGS 1984.
  9. Neither graphic is present in the display, which is not the expected behaviour
  10. Used the Properties of the Layers data frame to change its Coordinate System back to Robinson (world).
  11. Both graphics are present again (the rectangle distorted), as is expected

I think that the result in step 9 indicates that there may be a bug in at least my version (10.6).

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Couple of things. Another user reported he tested this on ArcGIS 10.5.1 and he does not experience the oddity. So it seems it was introduced with 10.6.

I have filed and incident with ESRI tech support and it is listed under "BUG-000114828 : ArcMap graphics disappear during on-the-fly re-projection when the map coordinate system changes."

For me this is a critical bug as I draw tons of graphics and then alternate between 2 or 3 map coordinate systems. If this affects you as well I would recommend contacting ESRI tech support and referencing the bug number above and let them know that this needs to be patched sooner than later.

I have also stumbled as to what may be a workaround...sort of. I just tested this in 10.5.1 and the results are very, very odd. Try this:

1.  Start ArcMap and add countries
2.  Set map to WGS84
3.  Add a polygon.
4.  Set map to Robinsons world.
5.  Add a polygon.
6.  Set to North Pole Stereographic.
7.  Add a polygon.
8.  Finally set map back to WGS84.

In my map there are no visible graphics.

Now take these additional steps:

9.  Set map to any geographic spatial reference. I chose ITRF1988. You will
get a warning about different spatial references.
10. Set map to WGS84, the final one we want.

The graphics should magically appear in step #9 and also step #10.

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