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Use geoprocessing services with custom geographic transformation

There are hundreds of geographic coordinate systems that can be used in ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server. When transforming between two different coordinate systems, you might require a custom coordinate system file, one that is not part of the core ArcGIS system. The following steps explain how you can use your custom geographic transformation file (.gtf) with geoprocessing tasks in ArcGIS Server.

Create a custom geographic transformation file

You can create a custom geographic transformation file using the Create Custom Geographic Transformation tool. This output .gtf file is created in one of the following folders, depending on your user account's write permissions:

  • On Windows, the file is typically saved to C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Roaming\ESRI\Desktop10.X\ArcToolbox\CustomTransformations. This path is directly accessible by entering %appdata%\ESRI\Desktop10.X\ArcToolbox\CustomTransformations in Windows Explorer. (Update the X in the path to match your version of ArcGIS Desktop.)
  • If you don't have write permission to the above path (it's read-only), the file is saved to your user account temp folder. This is accessed by entering %temp%\ArcToolbox\CustomTransformations in Windows Explorer.
  • On a Unix system, the .gtf file is saved to the user's home directory in ArcToolbox\CustomTransformations, either in the Application Data folder or the tmp folder, depending on your write permissions.

See the usage notes for the Create Custom Geographic Transformation tool for detailed information on where this file is saved.

Considerations for installing the .gtf file

The .gtf file must be copied to the appropriate directory on all ArcGIS Server machines in your site. If your site has only one machine, the file needs to be deployed to that single machine. Use the appropriate steps below to deploy the .gtf file.

ArcGIS Server site with a single machine

Use one of the following workflows to deploy the .gtf file. The first option is the most straightforward if you don't have direct access to your server machine. The second option may require the assistance of your network administrator if you don't have access to your ArcGIS Server machine.

Publish the Create Custom Geographic Transformation tool as a service

Executing the published service creates and deploys the file to the proper directory.

  1. In ArcGIS Desktop, run the Create Custom Geographic Transformation tool.

    A .gtf file is created. You need to run this step even if you have a preexisting .gtf file, so you have a result that can be published as a geoprocessing service.

  2. Publish the result from step 1 as a geoprocessing service.

    You can hard code the input parameters or leave them as configurable parameters.

  3. Run the newly published geoprocessing task. Do not modify any of the input parameters. They will be set with the same default values as when you originally ran the tool from ArcMap.

    When you run the geoprocessing service, the .gtf file is written to the %appdata%\Roaming\ESRI\Server10.x\ArcToolbox\CustomTransformations folder of the server's user account.

  4. You can delete the service after running it once.

    Subsequent geoprocessing tasks now have access to the .gtf file you created.

Manually copy the .gtf file

Manually copy the .gtf to the server machine from your local machine.

  1. Find the .gtf file on your local machine.

    On Windows, the location is typically C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Roaming\ESRI\Desktop10.X\ArcToolbox\CustomTransformations.

  2. On the server machine, find the ArcToolbox\CustomTransformations folder for the user account running the ArcGIS Server service.

    On Windows, this is typically C:\Users\<ArcGIS Server Account Name>.<Server Name>\Appdata\Roaming\ESRI\Server10.X\ArcToolbox\CustomTransformations. On a Unix system, this is typically /<AGS_InstallDir>/framework/runtime/.wine/drive_c/users/<AGS_InstallAccount>/Application Data/ESRI/Server10.X/ArcToolbox/CustomTransformations.

  3. Copy the file from the location in step 1 to the location in step 2.

ArcGIS Server site with multiple machines

In a multiple-machine site, you cannot publish the Create Custom Geographic Transformation tool as a geoprocessing service and run it to produce the .gtf file. Every machine in your server site must have the file deployed and accessible. You cannot control which ArcGIS Server machine will process a task request; consequently, you cannot be certain that each machine will run the task at least once to produce the file. Follow the steps in the Manually copy the .gtf file section above for each machine in your multiple-machine site.