Can you make GDBs or feature classes "read only" access with no "editing/write" access?

04-24-2020 02:36 PM
New Contributor

I know you can license a GDB which requires the end user to need license key, but is there a way to make GDBs or feature classes or shapefiles "read only" so the end user cannot edit the data? I saw somewhere that the only way to do this is to set the permissions in the Windows folder on Explorer to "Read only". Is that correct?

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2 Replies
MVP Esteemed Contributor

If managing permissions/access to data is important, the best option is to work with enterprise geodatabases.  You can compress a file geodatabase, which makes it read-only, but someone could uncompress it if they want.  Also, there can be issues with certain workflows/tool and compressed data.  Since file geodatabases are file-system based, you can also make the folder read-only as you have already read about.

There is no security model built into file geodatabases (licensing isn't really a security model) so there is no proper way to secure them.  If you shared why you want to make the file geodatabase read-only, people might be able to provide additional ideas.

New Contributor III

Although not directly from a GDB, if you have access to ArcGIS Online (I assume so if you have ArcGIS Enterprise database), or ArcGIS Portal (Server), you can publish a map service.  This will render those layers to be uneditable.  From there, you can create a web map and/or web app to view the data.  If using ESRI desktop apps, you can also pull the published service layers into your GIS mapping application.

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