However, in its current format adding file attachments to features is only functional for a very small organization, it is viable for hundreds not thousands of attachments. Many thrid party companies are popping up to fill this much needed niche. I would appreciate it if ESRI would consider making some improvements to enable larger organizations to utilize adding file attachments as a means to spatially organizing files and documents.
This is a follow up on this forum discussion: http://forums.arcgis.com/threads/51099-Attaching-files-to-features-Linking-to-multiple-documents
Proposed Geodatabase Attachment enhancements:
1) Why relocate/re-save the file attachment in a geodatabase?
We should be able to click on a feature and open an attached document (.wmv, .jpeg, Word, .pdf, excel, etc.) without having to relocate and save the file to a Geodatabase. Why create a copy of a document and save it in a geodatabase where accessibility is restricted to ArcGIS?
Typically an organization already has a filing system in place, in some cases files are stored on a secure server. It is important to attach a document to a feature class from its current server folder location. This prevents maintaining data at multiple locations (1) geodatabase and (2) original secure location. This would allow a “living” document to be updated and accessed by non-GIS users. Currently, to update a document you are required to delete and re-add the document for each feature connected to the newly revised attachment.
2) Query which features are attached to which file attachment.
Currently if a document needs to be updated there is no way to know how many features are attached to copies of the document in the geodatabase or how many copies the geodatabase contains. Create an interface which allows the user to view which features are attached to which document.
3) After hours of attaching documents you can delete them all in one click.
The attachment table/relationship is very easy to create, just a right click in ArcCatalog and tada! However, they are also very easy to delete, just a right click in ArcCatalog and tada, potentially thousands (or tens or thousands) of attachments are gone without so much as a warning popping up… Perhaps we could at least have an ArcCatalog warning pop up to make sure that the user is certain they want to delete the attachment relationship?