Remove ability to add a record without first creating the geometry

02-21-2012 09:34 AM
Status: Open
Labels (1)
Regular Contributor III
Currently there is the ability to add a record to a feature class without the corresponding geometry.  This can cause problems that can later be addressed with the repair geometry tool but my point is to remove this entirely.  I see no need to add data to an attribute table without first creating the geometry.  Tables may be a different story but really should be edited in their native format rather than as part of an ArcMap editing session.
I have actually used this capability in geocoding operations: the entire input table of addresses is output to a feature class, but addresses that could not be geocoded have no geometry. I won't argue that there aren't better ways of doing this, but at the time I found it a good thing to have all the input records in the output file for review. I could manually create geometry for some of the records that hadn't been geocoded.
But in that case all you have is a table, if it isn't geocoded why does it need to be in a point feature class?  The original address table that you used for geocoding should have all of this information, right?
I think the key issue is that there needs to be an agreement between what Esri's software allows in one place to be supported in another place.  It is debatable whether it should be valid to have a feature without geometry.  I can see the use case for when the output is a set of features rows for which both non-geometry field values and geometry are set in the output, and you don't want to lose the non-geometry field value output for the row just because the geometry value output for the row is null or empty.  I think the Esri tools, and well-written programs and scripts, need to behave well when there is null or empty geometry.  Anyway, even if Esri decides to shutdown the capability entirely, there is still the feature classes that were created in the past when it was allowed.