Can ArcGIS 10.0 handle .csv files with more than 256 columns?

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07-17-2013 09:34 AM
by Anonymous User
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Original User: tflowe

I am running ArcGIS Desktop SP 5 and I have a python script that creates a text file (.csv) with 995 columns.  My intention was to bring it into ArcGIS as a table and join it to the data it relates to.  However when viewing the csv as a table in ArcCatalog or ArcMap it only shows the first 256 columns.  I have read other threads in 9.3 forums referring to the same issue and that it relates to the Microsoft ODBC text driver and that this is the column limitation for text files. I know this has changed for 10.1 because the table will open fine on my home PC running a trial version of 10.1 "ArcGIS uses its own implementation for accessing delimited text file information and should handle the most common cases for displaying these files in ArcGIS."
http://resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#//005s00000010000000
However my work computer has to be on 10.0.  Is there any way around this besides splitting the csv file up into less than 256 columns per file?  Will this ArcGIS implementation for accessing delimited text files ever exist in 10.0?
Thanks for your help
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by Anonymous User
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Original User: curtvprice

Is there any way around this besides splitting the csv file up into less than 256 columns per file?


No there isn't. The workaround, which you already have determined, is to make skinnier tables and load them separately into the geodatabase. This is an awful lot of fields -- you may want to reconsider your data model, as a table that wide cannot be converted to most formats outside the geodatabase. Skinny tables aren't as important as they used to be in the old days (when we would normalize to speed up data access with three-field lookup tables, etc) but very fat tables are still fairly cumbersome.

Will this ArcGIS implementation for accessing delimited text files ever exist in 10.0?


I don't see Esri going back and changing this since the new architecture works in 10.1 and the very soon to be released 10.2. The 10.1+ platform has many other important updates besides this so I recommend updating as soon as you can.

BTW Esri is recommending skipping 10.1 altogether if you are currently at 10.0 and migrating directly from 10.0 to 10.2.

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RobertBorchert
Frequent Contributor III
You will have to load it into a  geodatabase. 

256 columns is max for csv excel etc to load into ArcGIS.

your csv is a simple text file so it can be pretty large if you open it in word or wordpad etc...

I am running ArcGIS Desktop SP 5 and I have a python script that creates a text file (.csv) with 995 columns.  My intention was to bring it into ArcGIS as a table and join it to the data it relates to.  However when viewing the csv as a table in ArcCatalog or ArcMap it only shows the first 256 columns.  I have read other threads in 9.3 forums referring to the same issue and that it relates to the Microsoft ODBC text driver and that this is the column limitation for text files. I know this has changed for 10.1 because the table will open fine on my home PC running a trial version of 10.1 "ArcGIS uses its own implementation for accessing delimited text file information and should handle the most common cases for displaying these files in ArcGIS."
http://resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#//005s00000010000000
However my work computer has to be on 10.0.  Is there any way around this besides splitting the csv file up into less than 256 columns per file?  Will this ArcGIS implementation for accessing delimited text files ever exist in 10.0?
Thanks for your help
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by Anonymous User
Not applicable
Original User: curtvprice

Is there any way around this besides splitting the csv file up into less than 256 columns per file?


No there isn't. The workaround, which you already have determined, is to make skinnier tables and load them separately into the geodatabase. This is an awful lot of fields -- you may want to reconsider your data model, as a table that wide cannot be converted to most formats outside the geodatabase. Skinny tables aren't as important as they used to be in the old days (when we would normalize to speed up data access with three-field lookup tables, etc) but very fat tables are still fairly cumbersome.

Will this ArcGIS implementation for accessing delimited text files ever exist in 10.0?


I don't see Esri going back and changing this since the new architecture works in 10.1 and the very soon to be released 10.2. The 10.1+ platform has many other important updates besides this so I recommend updating as soon as you can.

BTW Esri is recommending skipping 10.1 altogether if you are currently at 10.0 and migrating directly from 10.0 to 10.2.
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by Anonymous User
Not applicable
Original User: tflowe

Curtis,
Thanks for answers and confirming my workflow is the way to go.  The table only needs to exist in a FGDB to work with an Add-in and other third party software that can handle that many columns, and because of that Add-in and others we have to be in 10.0 for now.  However working for the federal govt we do not get access to the new versions as fast, we have only been able to upgrade to 10.1 since March 2013, which means 10.2 probably will not be available for us until summer 2014.  Thanks again.
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