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I'm having the following problem - An 8 mile by 4 mile set of 2 foot contours.
Whenever I start the topo to raster tool, I get a constant loop of the tool running. And running, and running, and running, with no effect, even after letting the process run over 10 hours overnight.

Settings that I'm using are as follows: Cell size 5 Extent same as input Margin: 50 Drainage: Enforced input data: contour maximum number of iterations: 20 Roughness Penalty: Discretisation error factor: 0 Vertical standard error: 0 Tolerance 1: 1 Tolerance 2: 100

Any help y'all could offer, would be a great, great help. I would also be interested to know other workarounds to make a DEM from detailed contour information.

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    It's possible that your running into memory issues. From the help: "Topo to Raster is a memory-intensive application and it is therefore not possible to create large output rasters. When large output is required, use the MARGIN parameter." I might suggest increasing your output cell size and testing that. – Radar Jan 7 '14 at 19:23
  • it is difficult to tell without more information. What is your coordinate system ? Have you tried with default parameters ? How dense are your contour lines... – radouxju Jan 7 '14 at 19:44
  • concerning workaround, you could make a TIN. Using 3D analyst in arcGIS or moving to QGIS gis.stackexchange.com/questions/50159/… – radouxju Jan 7 '14 at 19:49
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    First verify that you can run Topo to Raster at all: can you carry the process to completion by starting with, say, a set of contours clipped to a 1/8 by 1/8 mile window? (That ought to be about (8/(1/8)) * (4/(1/8)) = 2000 times faster.) If you are successful, how long does it take and what amount of processing time would it suggest the full dataset would require? – whuber Jan 7 '14 at 21:18

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