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A quick tour of map caching

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Below is an overview of the important parts of the software you need to know about when creating and maintaining map caches.

The Caching tab

From the Caching tab of the Service Editor dialog box, you can specify that the service should use a cache and subsequently configure required settings such as its tiling scheme. In the Advanced Settings subtab, you can choose additional options such as image format and whether to configure on-demand caching.

This tab is available in the Catalog window of ArcMap when you publish a service or display the service properties.

For guidelines on using the Caching tab, see Available map cache properties.

The Generate Map Server Cache Tiling Scheme tool

The Generate Map Server Cache Tiling Scheme tool allows you to create a tiling scheme for your map, which includes the scales for caching, the coordinate system of the cache, and other essential properties. The tool output is a tiling scheme file in XML format. When you create a new cache, you can browse to the tiling scheme file to load these properties.

It's a good practice to create a tiling scheme with this tool and use it on multiple caches within your organization.

The Manage Map Server Cache Tiles tool

The Manage Map Server Cache Tiles tool allows you to create, update, or delete tiles in an existing cache. You can access this tool by right-clicking your service in the Catalog tree and clicking Manage Cache > Manage Tiles.

Since Manage Map Server Cache Tiles is a geoprocessing tool, it can be scripted just like any other tool to help you update your cache on a regular basis.

The server cache directory

The server cache directory is the folder on disk where your cache tiles are stored.

You can open the server cache directory to examine the cache tiles and the tiling scheme file conf.xml. A cache directory can also contain a file geodatabase status.gdb that contains information about which tiles have been built.

The image below shows an exploded format cache in Windows Explorer where each tile is stored as a single file. With a compact format cache, you would see larger files called bundles that store multiple tiles.

Windows Explorer revealing the server cache directory

To learn more about the server cache directory, see Available map cache properties.