I am building a series of Modles / Tools in ArcGIS ModelBuilder and so I am frequently editing different Models / Tools within Toolboxes. The Tools generally have at least two submodels and contain upwards of 30 separate Tools / processes.

I am using standard Modelbuilder Tools and Toolboxes, not Python script versions.

The issues I am requesting answers on is the behavior of models / Tools that begin to appear unstable and start throwing up Errors that are inconsistent between model runs or that are frequently solved by closing down ArcCatalog and then re running the model / Tool. It almost appears that some models after lots of editing or cutting and pasting sections of models between different models become "unstable" and throw up errors.

My question is this - do people have advice or help on how to maintain the stability of models / Tools in ModelBuilder when they are being edited for long period of time, and becoming very complex with lots of nested submodels?

Is there a best praqctice for tracking different versions of Model, e.g. renaming etc.

I am using ArcGIS Desktop Advanced 10.1

I have not posted a model / tool example because the issues i am thinking of have occurred sporadically across several different models and I have checked through all possible normal errors resulting from error codes etc.

The types of errors are: - model "unable to save" or "failed to save" - model becomes unstable and crashes, when sub models are opened - field calculator using VBA code suddenly stops working, and only works when changed to Python code version even though previous runs of the model have worked fine using the VBA field calculator - workspace or data source is read only

My current solutions to these issues have been:

  • use in_memory for calculation where possible and keep deleting files that build up in memory after they have been used
  • setting scratch and inputs, outputs work spaces within the model as parameters
  • emptying the scratch workspace when lots of files build up from multiple model runs
  • copy and paste the model into a new empty model and save

Any thoughts, help or tips from advanced ModelBuilder users would be greatly appreciated.

As this question was closed for being too vague I have opened some related questions here to hopefully share ModelBuider expertise and best practice:

Do you use a proven workflow to edit and document ArcGIS ModelBuilder models?


Troubleshooting why ArcGIS Model works on one PC but not another?


Avoiding or dealing with "unable to save" errors in ArcGIS ModelBuilder?

  • 2
    If you want to grumble about Model builder, get to the back of the queue there are a whole load of us! ;) The best I can offer is that if I were building a particularly complex models I would probably have abandon it in favor of scripting it in python as I find that easier to read/edit and generally more stable. – Hornbydd Oct 30 '13 at 23:13
  • I am part of the queue mentioned by @Hornbydd as you will see in this ArcGIS Discussion Forum posting but I agree that your Question is not Answer-able in its current form. I think all of us who are affected should think about what specific ModelBuilder issues can be used to ask some Answer-able Questions within StackExchange guidelines. Unfortunately, as much as I prefer to work with Python/ArcPy, there are still large ModelBuilder applications that clients are not yet willing to re-write. – PolyGeo Oct 31 '13 at 10:48
  • 1
    Thanks for your comments. My apologies for misunderstanding the question formats. I will try and split this into answerable separate questions and edit it. – user21053 Oct 31 '13 at 12:27