ArcSDE Size/Performance with Thousands of Attachments

01-17-2014 05:44 AM
New Contributor II
Hello, I have been trying to find some information regarding size and performance issues in regards to attachments to features in ArcSDE.  I am currently using 10.2.  Here is an example of what I would like to do.  I have a layer of 10,000+ points.  I have three or more images and pdfs that need to be associated with each of the points.  How would the ArcSDE geodatabase handle all of these attachments?  I have tried hyperlinking the images and pdfs using the "Add Hyperlink..." option in the Identify tool, but the hyperlinks are not saved to the layer/feature.  I could use fields for hyperlinks in the layers but I would have to have at least five (and sometimes many more) hyperlink fields in each layer. 

The end result I want is to have the end-user be able to click on feature and in some way have access to all of the documents associated with that feature be available (pdfs and images).

Thanks for the help.

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3 Replies
Esri Frequent Contributor

When you enable attachments in your geodatabase it creates a relationship class and table that is linked to the source feature class. I would review the following link to see which workflow would be best for you.

As for the performance, that is very difficult to estimate as the size of the attachments, RDBMS used, machine specs, etc.... all factor into the performance.

An overview of the Attachments toolset:

Working with the Attachments geoprocessing tools:
--- George T.
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New Contributor II
Thanks for the reply.

I am currently testing Attachments with some layers.  My only worry is that if I add tens of thousands of images and documents to the database it would lose performance or be too large to run adequately.  I'm just trying to get a general idea based on other user's experiences with document management.


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New Contributor

Hello William,

I was curious if you had come to any conclusions regarding GIS performance and attachments.  We are about to begin a similar project, attaching numerous (thousands of pictures and video files) to one of our feature classes, and I was wondering if you had noticed any performance issues with that many features attached.  I've searched high and low for some type of magic number, either number of attachments or overall file size, where performance begins to be negatively affected.  Any insight you may have would be most helpful!


Jeff Miller

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