The GIS Data Administration topic on the GIS.com wiki is an excellent high level overview of the various server level strategies available and in what situations to apply them. I’m looking for something similar with a focus on personal and small workgroup beast practices for local file and folder management. So one level below the server GIS data admin.
Our server level spatial data management is pretty good (albeit with ample room for improvement!). However we still have gigabytes to terabytes of GIS data and projects scattered throughout various offices in the organization that is effectively useless to a wider audience without the individual who created them present to interpret the file and folder arrangements.
What guidelines can we give people starting new projects that will minimize unnecessary local variation while still being adaptive to local circumstance and make it easier for
Listed more or less in order of priority. Our organization operates within a 90% ArcGIS Desktop ecosystem, though some other platforms are used here and there as well.
My question is broader than just how to store the geometry files and attribute tables. A typical project also uses and produces MXDs, (aprx for Pro), input data, external reference data, interim data, output data, python scripts, toolboxes, models, output files (pdf, jpeg, …), raster imagery, layer files, word docs, text docs, … in addition to file-gdb and shapefiles.
In a well managed project, where does all this stuff go and how is it named?
While not as all-encompassing as you're hoping for, here's my default "New Project" folder structure; perhaps it'll be helpful...
The Scratch, Output and SourceData folders have contain empty .gdbs. The Documentation folder contains a blank Workflow.docx that I fill out as I move forward with the analysis. I copy the project initiation email, and milestones, and the acceptance email into the Communications folder.
Hope this helps. And if you have any input I'd love to hear it!
That's nearly identical to our current best layout! 😉 It is reassuring to see your project folder structure match ours so closely. It helps validate the thinking that got us this far.
The pain points we have with it:
I like the concept of Map and Layer Packages combined with a Check-out and Check-in to storage central workflow, but it doesn't work well when there are numerous data layers which shouldn't be wrapped up that aren't stored in an SDE. (Sure would nice if one could say "Exclude all layers in folder or drive X".). I've considered spawning one or more pre-corporately-managed GDB instances to address this, but the internal flat nature of GDB (all feature classes and tables stored at same level) means we'd need a dozen or more, which makes me leery.
Thank you for your contribution to this exploration.
Here is a similar data structure that I use in addition to the folders that ArcPro creates with any new Project. Glad to see we are all on similar pages. Would love to hear any input as well. If anyone has a file structure that works I'd like to see more examples.