Field Descriptions in GDB

01-30-2023 01:24 PM
Status: Under Consideration
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New Contributor III

Just read this article on Field Descriptions in ArcGIS Online.  I think that's a wonderful idea!  I went to look up it's equivalent for making the same thing for our Enterprise GDB, and I cannot find anything.

It would be amazing if we could put field descriptions in our GDBs and then when we host our data online - that metadata can go over with it.  This would be extremely valuable to those who edit data on the backend, to be able to look up what different fields are.  Also, if for whatever reason a service has to be deleted - all that metadata does not disappear with it..

Status changed to: Needs Clarification

Thanks for the Idea @Bud ,

The ability to add descriptions to fields is an idea that is under consideration.  You can find and support the idea at the link below. If this functionality is implemented, ensuring that the description appears in the hover over is a great idea.  

This idea seems best as an addition to the original field descriptions idea.  If you agree, I'll merge these together so that one is not implemented without the other. 

Field Descriptions in GDB


@SSWoodward I think the hover-over functionality should work everywhere, including the Explore window and the Attribute pane.


Expanding on this idea. I would also like see a UNITS metadata property for each numeric field. This would allow for an automatic unit conversion. Think of how a datetime field is presented by the web clients. You can store a datetime field using any time zone you like, and the clients will always convert this to the user's local time automatically.

Why can't we do the same thing with other numeric fields?? It would be fairly straightforward. The user's profile would allow you to set a desired unit type for Speed, Distance, Elevation, and even Volume. The service field details now support the ability to include a description and declare the value type. All we need is the UNITS of the field. With the user's preference and the field's unit specification, the client software can easily convert from one unit to another without adding additional code to the user's web map.


Here's the formal post I created outside of this thread:


My team maintains a fairly robust data standard document for the schemas of our data sources, but one ever-present difficulty is obviously getting it into the hands of the people that need it for working with our data—training newly-hired or -assigned employees, coordinating with contractors, sharing data with colleagues, and more.

As I was making some schema updates, I took a look at the Fields and Domain Views and realized:

Domain View has a "Description" column for every Domain that at least has a simple one line-description of what it's intended for.

Why not add the same at the Field level?


We work hard to minimize conflicting interpretations of a field's name, alias, and/or contents, but this would be one more safeguard against that issue.


Field Description at the geodatase level is definitely the way we would want to go.

These should then also be viewable via the Open Data capability of "Sites" or "Hub". 


This is exactly what I'd want as well.Metadata documentation at the feature class level, for each field.