I am relatively new to geodatabases. I have been working with a file geodatabase provided by a consultant; the idea is to take this and make it our own to manage. I copied the contents of the file geodatabase into another blank file geodatabase as part of testing and learning. Now I want to clean up the geodatabase: rename features, group features, etc., so that when I pass this out to colleagues it is more succinct and intuitive, but I can't figure out how to make the edits. In ArcMap I can group and do whatever I want to the geodatabase, but the edits don't carry back to the the actual DB. I have tried working in ArcCatalog as well. Sorry, I am sure this is simple for most people on here - thanks for any help you can give me.
Well, depending on how complex the gdb is, there are a couple of possible options. One is to set up a new, empty gdb with the schema you want - feature datasets, feature classes, fields, etc., then use the Simple Feature Loader to load the data, mapping source fields to your target fields. I frequently use this for smaller projects.
For more complex migrations, you could download the X-Ray for ArcCatalog add-in. I haven't used this much myself, mostly because some of its features require Excel and we use Libre Office here. It has a bigger learning curve, but is also more versatile than the Simple Data Loader.
It sounds like you are trying to rename the feature classes stored within the geodatabase and then logically group them into feature datasets. In ArcCatalog or within the Catalog tree in ArcMap, you can simply rename a feature class by right clicking on it in the Catalog tree and selecting the Rename option. The feature class name should become editable and you can then input the new name. This help topic describes how to do this in case you need it for reference.
You can use Feature Datasets to logically group your feature classes, for example if you had feature classes that stored various tree types you could create a Trees feature dataset and group all your tree feature classes within it. These two help topics cover what feature datasets are and how to create them. Once you have the feature dataset created, you can drag the applicable feature classes into it via ArcCatalog or the Catalog tree in ArcMap. However, the feature classes have to have the same spatial reference information as the feature dataset. Also, make sure none of the feature classes are loaded into the ArcMap table of contents otherwise you'll probably be unable to make any changes to the feature class due to locking. I hope this helps.
There's also the Alter Field tool available at ArcGIS 10.2 to change field names, although this could be tedious for a lot of fields. You could run it in a loop in python, I suppose, although you'd still have to set up all the field names you wanted to change.
Thanks, this was very helpful. I had already worked out most of this over the past few days on my own and ended up going with the method you outlined above using ArcCatalog.
You may want to have a look if the gdb contains any domains, representations, subtypes, relationship classes, etc. Always be cautious when copying data that you don’t create any duplicate data.