Preserving a GlobalID while moving data between Feature Classes

09-29-2017 10:04 AM
Occasional Contributor II

The spirit of this post is to gather other people's solutions, discuss ways of improving the suggested solution, and track future ArcGIS capabilities as they evolve for this problem.


This all started because we had existing data in a GDB that contained a Relationship Class (RC) between a Feature Class  (FC) and a Table (TBL) using the FC's GlobalID field. We wanted to move that data into a new GDB that had a new schema (changes in domains, fields, etc.).


The problem is that when you Append the old data into the new schema, the GlobalID in the new schema is different than the records from the old data. This breaks the relationship between the FC and the related TBL.


I have a much, MUCH, better solution that I discovered and it doesn't appear to be documented anywhere. All the text below that has strikethrough you shouldn't pay attention to, as it was the old, convoluted solution.

New Solution:

  1. Have your old data ready to load (your "loading" gdb - this is your source data)
  2. Have your empty geodatabase with the new schema. (your "new" gdb. It's okay that it has the "GlobalID" field, there is a new way to populate it with the GlobalID values from your loading geodatabase in ArcGIS Pro.)
  3. Open ArcGIS Pro
  4. Make sure your two geodatabases are added to the project (the "loading" gdb and the "new" gdb)
  5. Run the Append Tool
  6. Use your loading gdb feature class as the source, and your new gdb feature class as the target
  7. For the tool's Environment settings, make sure the "Preserve Global ID field" checkbox is checked
  8. In the Append tool's Field Mapping section, under the "Properties" tab, change the target feature class Data Type for the GlobalID field from "GlobalID" ---to----> "GUID". (I know, this seems strange. The data type is set in the target feature class schema as "GlobalID", but if you don't change this to GUID, then the GlobalID values from your source feature class will not migrate over to your new FC. If you change this setting to "GUID", they will magically migrate over to your new FC! I don't believe this is documented. If someone sees this documented anywhere, please share in the comments!)
  9. Repeat steps 4-8 for your related table.

Pay no attention:

After doing some searching, I discovered that there is a way to do this using and Enterprise Geodatabase (EGDB) and ArcGIS Pro.


I post my basic workflow here on how to preserve the FC's GlobalID values so that when you migrate the data over to the new schema, the GlobalID values stay the same in the new FC. This preserves the relationship between the FC and the TBL in the new schema.



  • You have a FC you need to migrate to a new schema and would like to preserve the GlobalIDs.
  • You have access to an EGDB and ArcGIS Pro


Manual Steps:

  1. Copy the source FC (Feature Class) to an EGDB (Enterprise Geodatabase)
    1. Rename each class to have "_OLD" appended to them
      • Note: You might need to deal with differences in domains at this point if they have the same name but have different contents
      • You don't want your final domains to be appended with "_1". If so, then after you copy them over, you will need to turn off the domains where they are used, and delete them in the EGDB
      • This doesn't affect final product because this is only happening in the source data
  2. Prepare your new schema of your target FC to have a "GlobalID" that can be preserved:
    1. Take a copy of the FC empty schema
      1. Use X-Ray in ArcCatalog to remove the GlobalID field in the FC
      2. Create a new GDB using this new FC design
    2. Create a new "GlobalID" field manually (don't use the GP Toolbox) in the FC
      1. Use "GUID" datatype
      2. Do this in the FCL for the Global ID's that need to be preserved - this is normally only necessary on the FC where there is a oneway relationship
    3. Copy the FC to the EGDB
    4. In the newly copied FC in the EGDB…
      1. Create a new index for this new "GlobalID" field
      2. Make sure that it has "Unique" box checked, and "Ascending" too
  3. Append records from the OLD FC to the NEW FC using ArcGIS Pro's Append tool
    1. Add the FC's to an ArcGIS Pro project
    2. Run the Append tool
      1. Make sure to have the "Preserve GlobalID" box checked under Environments
      2. For "Schema Type", use the "Use the Field Map to reconcile schema differences" option


At this point, you can now copy/paste that new FC back to your location of choice, and rebuild the RC so that it connects up with the new TBL. It turns out that the GUID's used in the related table to relate back to the FC are naturally preserved by using the Append tool in ArcCatalog, so performing the workflow above on the related TBL is unnecessary. Even though the TBL's GlobalID (not GUID) values change when moving the data, that's doesn't matter to us because they aren't used to create the relationship.


We don't do this often so we aren't going to take efforts to automate it, but I assume that might be possible.

39 Replies
Regular Contributor

This comment is somewhat off topic but related.  

I have found the same situation when creating a Relationship class across a FeatureClass and say, an InspectionTable.  I could not point the relationship as GLOBALID to GLOBALID. 

Collector, Web Apps, just wouldn't allow for new records.

Now, we are using a BOTH direction in the relationship class so perhaps a one way would get rid of this.

The solution was to do what you did and create a GUID.

When you think this over, it actually makes sense.

I believe the following is at true statement:

All GLOBALIDs are GUIDs but not all GUIDs are GLOBALIDs

Hence, GlobalIDs are like an ObjectID and basically untouchable by the end user.  The system will create & treate them as a Primary Key.  At least for me, that concept helps explain this behavior.

Now not to hijack your thread, I'm going to post this question as a new thread if my Google search comes up empty handed...  I have found that when I publish a layer with GLOBALIDs to ArcGIS Online (& I assume Portal but haven't verified that yet) the GLOBALIDs in ArcMap (and Pro but they were created in ArcMap) show up as all UpperCase.  In AGOL, they are all lower case.  It had been driving me nuts that I could not join on the GlobalIDs....

Researching that question brought me here as my top hit. 

And the fact that you found is not documented is very strange.  This is some fundamental stuff.

MVP Frequent Contributor
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Occasional Contributor II

While this is a slightly different situation, it's similar in nature. Your feature class GLOBALID field needs to join to a GUID field in the standalone table. The standalone table should have it's own GLOBALID field, but that's just like the OBJECTID field: a unique id for each record. That's the way AGOL converts relationships between FC's and tables that join using OBJECTID, it adds a GUID and GLOBALID to the standalone table, a GLOBALID to the FC, and changes the relationship class to join this way FC.GLOBALID <----> TABLE.GUID

So it makes sense that it won't let you use GLOBALID on both sides of the join because the GLOBALID values need to be unique inside a Geodatabase across all items.

New Contributor II

Did you find satisfaction regarding the case discrepancies between AGOL and Pro? Thanks

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New Contributor II

Thank you! This is exactly what I needed. We were trying to Append from fgdb to SDE and getting a 999999 error when Preserve GlobalID was selected. Now that I think about it, makes sense that the target must be of data type GUID, though, preserving the GlobalID should automatically set the target to GUID data type, or at least throw a more useful error. 

Occasional Contributor III


Thanks for posting this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was getting the same 9999999 Michael was seeing and couldn't figure out why.  

New Contributor III

Alex Friant I have attempted your steps to Preserve the GlobalID field when achieving data. In my case, the GlobalID were not preserved even with the box checked.

I do run into the same issue of the original problem as the append tool does not work unless the GlobalID field type is changed to GUID. However, in my case the GlobalID field is still not being preserved.

Have you ran into this issue as well?


My solution turned out I needed to add an index to my archived feature class (Target Dataset) as the GlobalID field and set as unique. The append will run without making adjustments to the field map. 

Occasional Contributor II

Interesting. The "Add Global IDs" tool adds the index automatically, so perhaps it was added manually or the index was removed by accident? Either way, glad you got it figured out!

New Contributor III

The Add Global IDs is something we have to do when creating the new feature class on the server. However, I don't believe it sets it to "unique" under the index properties so  I have to go back in and add a new index pointing to the GlobalID and set it as "unique".

.....seems like unnecessary steps that should be already set in place.

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Occasional Contributor II

My GlobalID index is marked as "No" for Unique, but it still worked. Does that same FC has an ObjectID field with an index set to Unique = 'Yes'?  Mine does. I downloaded the FC from AGOL at one point, so perhaps that's

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