Long Live the Shapefile

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12-02-2017 07:27 PM
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New Contributor II

Since the release of ArcGIS Pro my main challenge has been the inability to access my GIS data in Pro, from within Microsoft Access. Access is very popular in my environment (engineering/asset management) and has powerful capabilities to connect to both enterprise and local databases, along with robust yet simple tools for querying, reporting and automating.

This issue is actually a much broader issue than access. It's the inability to access an ESRI geodatabase from within a 3rd party software (without purchasing an ArcGIS Server license). ESRI has not provided a long requested ODBC for the FGDB; does not provide editing capabilities for sqlite (fully available in qGIS); has removed support for the PGDB format within Pro; to my best knowledge has removed support for editing a SQL-Express "desktop GDB" within Pro; and requires a server license for SQLServer/Oracle/PostGressql. Numerous "ArcGIS Ideas" relate to this issue and remain open (some links below).

It only recently occurred to me, that the shapefile actually does all of this! This simple and outdated format is accessible from basically any 3rd party software. Microsoft Access has even renewed support for the underlying  .dbf format , to a large extent at the requests of the GIS community (link below).

What I learn from this is the importance of open formats and the open source community. 

My messages to ESRI are two:

1. The importance of open formats. ESRI has provided the community with the .shp format, and its openness proves to be invaluable even today. Please don't leave the FGDB a silo. 

2. It seems that ESRI is focusing too much on the organizational level. My (huge) organization actually is based on the ArcGIS Eneterprise architecture; yet this platform is not typically accessible to end-users like myself for desktop analysis and development. But it is us, the end-users, who eventually drive the organization forward; it is our initiatives that grow into enterprise solutions, and we need powerful and flexible tools to do so.

Relevant "ArcGIS Ideas":

Provide an ODBC driver for the ESRI file geodatabase 

https://community.esri.com/ideas/1262?commentID=51111#comment-51111 

https://community.esri.com/ideas/12662-enable-arcgis-pro-to-access-esri-personal-geodatabases?commen... 

Microsoft Access (.accdb) Support in ArcGIS Pro 

Microsoft Access DBF Support is back

https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2016/09/07/back-by-popular-demand-dbase-file-support-in-access/?eu=tr... 

11 Replies
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Regular Contributor II

Hi Chaim

Even the FGDB format is not open there is a free library that can read and update it (simple features).

Look here: File Geodatabase API details | ArcGIS Blog  

It is true that for many non ESRI software it is easier to keep using the shape files and not implement this library but it is possible.

Have Fun

Mody

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New Contributor II

Thank you Mody,

I guess my case is one of those scenarios where this is just not helpful and we have to rely on other formats.

Chaim

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Esri Regular Contributor

Hi Chaim

SQL Express is supported by Pro, but you have to make the database connection file in 10.x.

Please vote on the ideas you reference.

Regards

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New Contributor II

Hello Bruce,

Are you refering to the solution mentioned here?

Manage Sql Server Express 

This still means that I have to manage this through arcmap, and I can't find any documentation indicating if this will or won't be supported in future in PRO releases.

Thanks

Chaim

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Esri Regular Contributor

Hi Chaim

My understanding is SQL Express workspaces are supported because the same technology is used across all SQL Server clients.  The best way to get the functionality you want into Pro is to get an Ideas post up there and voted on.

Regards

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Regular Contributor II

LOL !

This idea has been up shortly after the first release of Pro.  ESRI has refused to act on it.

Enable ArcGIS Pro to access ESRI Personal Geodatabases

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Occasional Contributor II

Bruce Harold wrote:

Hi Chaim

 

SQL Express is supported by Pro, but you have to make the database connection file in 10.x.

Please vote on the ideas you reference.

Regards

Really? Have you had experience with this? I cannot connect to SQL Server Express "Desktop" Geodatabases in Pro 2.4.1. If you have other information on how to do this please share. I am already connected to the database in ArcCatalog/ArcMap 10.7.1.

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Esri Contributor

Are you encountering an error when a database connection is established to a 'desktop geodatabase'?

Sample connection information below:

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Regular Contributor II

No - it is not a connection issue being discussed.  Editing requires special licensing with all flavors of SQL server including express.  The only way you can use express is if you are willing to overwrite your complete Feature Class/Table each and every time changes made to the data because editing is not allowed with your standard ArcGIS license.  This issue here is ESRI removing various open formats that are in use with 90% of business processes like MS Access (more prevalent with smaller operations).

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