I like simple things that just work, like CSV files: They are ASCII files, so you can open them in any editor; and they are vendor independent, so great for exchange of tabular data between different software systems. The contain nothing but data, commas and line feeds – the structure is so straightforward, what could possibly go wrong? For ArcGIS the CSV file must have a specific structure, for example the first line must contain the field names.
Now I use a CSV file in ArcGIS 10.1:
- I start a blank ArcMap project and load a boundary shapefile and CSV table containing attribute values.
- I join the table to the shapefile via a common attribute.
- I change the symbolization to Quantities > Graduated Colors > Poverty. At this point ArcMap stalls, and after a few seconds it crashes.
Let’s look at our CSV file in Excel (or in a text editor if you are a proper geek):
Now we load the file into ArcGIS, and it looks like this:
Scratch head now ….
ArcGIS does not read our CSV file correctly
This seems to cause ArcMap to crash when we apply a symbology based on a field in the CSV table.
I found that this is a known bug in ArcGIS 10.1: NIM084421:
There is a related bug where ArcGIS crashes if your CSV table has a definition query: NIM086787,
Open the CSV in MS Excel, save as an Excel file (xlsx), then load the Excel table into ArcGIS. I tried with my test data, joined and visualised, and it all works.