Creating a Geo Database General Questions

03-17-2015 05:44 AM
New Contributor

Dear People,

i have a task to create a "Geo-Database" with ArcGis (Our license : Advanced) for our Soil-Data, which is stored on our Server. The Data comes from various sources, webpages, selfmade, has for example GRID files, Shapefiles, RST files. It is a bit unorganized and well distributed on the server (many folders, subfolders).

There are three different types of Geodatabases, i am asking myself what we were using until now. We actually just imported the mapfiles into arcgis and worked on them (most times 1 person a time) then saved the results to new files somewhere near to the actual files. The result on the server looks somewhat like this :  folder name : "soil_map" , subfolders like "info" and so on, files which are called ".adf" (which turns out to be the equivalent of GRID if you open it in ARCGIS).

i suppose thats what the ARGIS HELP site calls "Personal-Geodatabase", which is not recommended to use at all.

What my task is :  Set up a Database (determine if it is necessary ??)

                              But there are two types to think about : ArcSDE-Geodatabase //  File-Geodatabase

My Ideas about File-Geodatabase :

I think it is easier to set up and can be done with ArcCatalog, which will support multi-user and a faster processing speed of the files???

We are not working with too many people on the same data at all, lets say max. 3 persons at a time.

The data we are working with are not that huge, we are talking about <10 GB per file (mean), mainly stored in TIFF images, Shapefiles, .rst, Rasterfiles etc.

My Ideas about the ArcSDE-Geodatabase :

Harder to set up, need to install ARCSDE to the server, which is probably running on linux, what so ever, i dont think it is necessary to implement this kind of database, but im not sure, because I dont know what kind of data size will occur in future and how many users will use it.


what i kindly ask You is :

Is based on the information i gave, PROBABLY  a File-Geodatabase a good enough solution to provide a small "mulit use" component as well as a faster processing speed, or is it smarter to set up the "ARCSDE-Geodatabase" in general?

I know probably there is no simple answer to this but i would be thankful if someone could point the finger in a direction to show me whats my next step of thinking is.

Thank you,


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3 Replies
Esri Esteemed Contributor

Hi Martin,

The following link is helpful, even though it pertains to using a geodatabase with ArcGIS Server:

ArcGIS Help 10.1

One thing to consider is if you need to have multiple editors editing the same feature class.  This is where versioning comes into play.  If this functionality is required, you should definitely use an SDE geodatabase.

MVP Frequent Contributor

The link Jake posted is helpful.  One other issue to consider that is not directly mentioned but may be a factor is financial.  If your organization does not currently have an enterprise geodatabase/ArcSDE, there is an additional cost consideration in purchasing it. Also, some time and effort (and therefore often money) will be needed to set it up and maintain it. 

Something else to add to the mix as you evaluate your needs....

Chris Donohue, GISP

Occasional Contributor III

Just to chime in on the topic...

Our shop has not decided on an enterprise database yet ... so the SDE is out of the question for the short term.

The next recommended is the file geodatabase; however this is only accessible through GIS/ESRI non GIS use of this data would be impossible.  That leaves the personal geodatabase for us which is accessible by GIS and all others for non GIS use as a regular Access DB which is compatible with all other Applications our shop runs.  Draw backs are multi-editing is an issue and has to be handled through procedure/process (old fashion way), however multi reading/sharing of data is doable.

My two cents!

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