I like the functionality of this idea, but was concerned about searching data afterward as well. Could your hesitancy be persuaded if the domain was interpreting a bitgate?
Not exactly - If in the example the OP posed the user selected that all 4 types apply the stored value could be a delimited string - A; O; P; S and searches could be done using Like instead of =
I like the idea but the biggest problem I see with it is that the having a multi-value selection has development implications across the entire ArcGIS Platform. Esri would need to come up with a well known multi-value selection syntax, say semi-colon delimited as demonstrated by Andrew Zimba and the somehow reserve that syntax across the platform and ensure that all applications and solutions had built-in logic to detect, parse and visualize that data in the solution UI.
That means dev effort for Pro, Online, Web App Builder, OpsDB, Workforce, Collector, GeoPlanner...the list goes on and on. Multi-value selections are useful, I agree. It's just that this while seemingly a small development effort has some pretty massive implications when you scale it out to the entire platform.
Fwiw, Survey123 already does multi-value selection but perhaps there's a standard defined there and all of the other Esri App teams could just on board with that, but even so - this is no small ask.
What if it was a NoSQL database being used? With everything essentially as JSON objects you can make the field an array and the chosen values can be objects within it. The query as a concept changes a bit as does storage in general but it would work. They would need to write an ODM to run in place of the normal ORM for relational databases though and like you said that's a system wide undertaking. esri products don't do much with NoSQL databases at the moment but I can see that changing in the future especially with the shift towards big data analytics. They already use MongoDB with Monitor but that's not a core spatial product so it only tangentially applies. Mongo uses GeoJSON as its spatial type so hypothetically you could run the esri JS API off of it with changes to the query back end.
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