Feature Class to Feature Class (Conversion) and Export Data: What's the Difference?

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06-17-2016 11:06 AM
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New Contributor III

Hello,


I am just curious to know what exactly the primary difference is between each of these operations. I am currently working with a Polygon Feature Class on an SDE, and I want to create a shapefile in a different location using the features within this Polygon Feature Class. I understand that I can just add the Feature Class to an MXD file, right click the layer in the table of contents, and click 'Export Data', and specify the location of the folder that I want to create the shapefile in as well as its name. My concern is that I do not want the original dataset that I am working with on the SDE to be deleted or compromised in any way. Thank you.

-Jacob

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Esri Esteemed Contributor

Hi Jacob,

Both of these methods will give you the same result.  The Feature Class to Feature Class tool provides more options though.  For example, you can delete/rename/add fields or apply an expression.  You can also set options in the Environments.  Such as writing the output to a new coordinate system, specify whether the output will contain Z or M values, the processing extent, etc.

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Esri Esteemed Contributor

Hi Jacob,

Both of these methods will give you the same result.  The Feature Class to Feature Class tool provides more options though.  For example, you can delete/rename/add fields or apply an expression.  You can also set options in the Environments.  Such as writing the output to a new coordinate system, specify whether the output will contain Z or M values, the processing extent, etc.

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New Contributor III

Thanks so much for your help.

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Regular Contributor

Hi Jacob. If your goal is just to convert the data from SDE to shapefile, I'd recommend Feature Class To Feature Class or Copy Features. Copy Features (management) can be used as well but lacks the field map controls and some of the other options Jake mentioned. This is important to consider due to the field length limitations of a shapefile (11 characters I believe). So, if you have lengthy field names in SDE they may be truncated in your shapefile.

Copy (management) is fast, but can only write between the same format - so no converting from geodatabase to shapefile.

Of course, if you need to visualize the data in ArcMap first, then "export data" from the TOC is fine. It just involves a bit of extra clicking!

Micah

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New Contributor III

Thanks so much for all of the information. It turns out that the field mapping controls in Feature Class to Feature Class will better help me to accomplish what I need to do. Thank so much again.

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Regular Contributor II

I am also want to add information in the difference between Export data and Feature Class to Feature Class.

that :

Export data allow you to overwrite currant shape file.

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