ArcGIS Geodatabase Benefits

December 3, 2008 by  
Filed under ArcGIS, Data Management, GIS Tips

I was just recently doing a spatial join between a polygon shapefile and a point feature class file.  There were approximately 400 polygons and 38,000 points.   There were several fields within the point file which were being summarized based upon which polygon they fell within.  The entire join process took about an hour.  I then took the output file, which was a geodatabase polygon feature class and joined it to a similar point file.  Amazingly, that join process only took 5 minutes.

This is just one example of the efficiency of the Geodatabase.  Geoprocessing is so much quicker.  A savings of time is a savings of money.  Here are a few other things to know about the various types of geodatabases.

Personal Geodatabase

  • Single User Editing
  • Stored in Access Database File
  • 2 GB Max Size

File Geodatabase (ArcGIS 9.2+)

  • Single User Editing
  • Stored in a Folder
  • Efficient Data Structure for Increased Performance
  • 1 TB per Table Max Size

SDE Geodatabase

  • Multiuser Editing
  • Disconnected Editing
  • Stored in a RDBMS

Additionally, with the geodatabase you can create:

Geometric Networks
Feature Linked Annotation
Relationship Classes
Sub Types and Domains
A Centralized location for all the geographic data

So with these benefits of the geodatabase, try converting some of your data.  Creating a geodatabase does not take long as you can find out in my 90 Second Geodatabase post.  Also, ESRI has a great blog post entitled: Migrating your existing data into the Geodatabase.  It goes into great detail into how to import the following file types into the geodatabase.

  • Shapefiles
  • Coverages
  • CAD
  • Tables
  • Imagery

Try out the geodatabase today, you will find many benefits.  If it seems a little awkward, give it time as you will get adjusted to the concept.  There is nothing to loose.  If you don’t like it then delete the geodatabase and go back to using your shapefiles.

Good Luck!

Related Website Pages

File Format Support in GeoCommons – Do Geodatabases Make Sense?

Five reasons why you should be using the File Geodatabase

Related Books

Designing Geodatabases: Case Studies in GIS Data Modeling

Modeling Our World: The ESRI Guide to Geodatabase Design


3 Comments on "ArcGIS Geodatabase Benefits"

  1. Mikhael on Thu, 4th Dec 2008 11:06 am 

    As an addendum, in specific cases – file geodatabase supports multiple user editing… See

  2. Timothy on Thu, 4th Dec 2008 2:53 pm 

    Thank you Mikhael for the addition to this article.

  3. Dan on Wed, 14th Oct 2009 3:15 pm 

    Although file geodatabases have a 1 Tb max file size the constituent tables within still have the 2Gb limit. Until Arc goes 64 bit this will continue to be an issue (at least it is for me).

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