Top Reasons to Perform Geospatial Analysis Immediately - 11

Geodatabase: How to Use It for Geospatial Analysis

  • October 16, 2023
  • Guides
  • Author: Volodymyr Ovramenko
  • Reading time: 11 minuntes

In the digital world, users often face the issue of data storage. For such purposes, there is a file geodatabase, which contains all the materials necessary for saving. This system allows you to have easy management and access to the data stored in the database. In this article, we’ll discuss the geodatabase, look at storage types, and answer important user questions. Read the article to the end and contact our service for help.

What Is a Geodatabase?

First, let’s understand a geodatabase and how to use space properly. A geodatabase is a data management and storage platform for the ArcGIS system. In simple words, this is a kind of box in which attribute and spatial data are folded, which has become one of the main models. The name geodatabase comes from geo (space) and the database where the necessary materials are stored. Users use this system to easily use and manage data that can be stored in unlimited quantities.

The geodatabase is a feature-rich space that supports the various kinds of GIS data used by the ArcGIS system. Among the types, there are different geographic features, raster data, attributive, 3D, coordinates, satellite features, and much more. ArcGIS is a system that has a whole list of tools that help transform data and easily transfer it from a given space to a geodatabase.

Types of Geodatabases

It is important to understand that ArcGis geodatabase has several views designed to organize multiple sizes and types and use the system separately. The geodatabase works in such a way that users can easily re-architect and scale it to meet the needs of a particular organization. It is also important to consider the needs, which can be quickly changed at any time.

A novice user can start using a file geodatabase created for a single project or material and then move on to a larger one called an enterprise geodatabase. The second type involves using a larger geodatabase to scale up storage. All you need to know is that there are only two types of geodatabases, single-user and multiuser. You could already guess how it works based on the name, but we will discuss it below in more detail.

Multiuser Geodatabases

Enterprise geodatabases are designed exclusively for large organizations with a lot of content stored in a vault. Such databases work based on ArcSDE technology, which was implemented on the DBMS. Multiuser geodatabases have a standard architecture that provides file security and extended access to many features that allow you to quickly manage data and are unavailable in the single-user version.

Single-User Geodatabases

Single-user geodatabases are designed exclusively for individual users and do not have accessibility features. This view has only two types of geodata. These are personal and file. All GIS users can use both types, which are available in ArcGIS. Let’s take a closer look at each of these types:

  • File. This geodatabase is a set of binaries on a system that places no limits on size and extension. Like other systems, it can store no more than one terabyte of file data. However, users can increase the storage size up to 256 terabytes.
  • Personal. This geodatabase has a maximum file size of 2 gigabytes. This type is great for small projects that don’t need editing or archiving. You can transfer entire GIS datasets using intuitive tools like copy and paste.

Why Use a Geodatabase?

file geodatabase

No matter what size dataset you’re working with, Qgis geodatabases are great for storing and managing material securely. Geodatabases make it much easier to edit files and keep them in a safe place. In addition, there are several other reasons to use a geodatabase for your project:

  • Despite the feature classes, geodatabases provide optimized performance and allow you to manage and scale your files indefinitely.
  • Easy file migration management. You just need to use simple tools like copy and paste to transfer the necessary files from one space to another. Even novice users can cope with the functions, so this is another reason to use a geodatabase – it’s easy!
  • Simple file editing is also one reason to use a geodatabase. In addition to the fact that the platform securely stores files, you have the opportunity to edit them and perform the necessary actions at any time.
  • Storage that can be configured can be a great help to many users. If necessary, you can get extended access and increase the amount of storage for your data.

As you may have noticed, there are many reasons to use a geodatabase. You can contact our service for quality assistance and instructions on using the space. We will also be happy to provide you with information regarding various types and types of systems, which will greatly facilitate the process of using them in the future.

Geodatabase vs Shapefile

If we compare geodatabase vs. shapefile, we can immediately note that geodatabases have many more features than the latter. Using full-fledged geodatabases, you can customize topology and much more that you can’t do with older shapefiles. In addition, geodatabases are great helpers for adding domains, raster catalogs, and geometric networks because of this mechanism. However, it needs organization, allowing you to do much more than simple shapefiles.

Also, geodatabases are very different in performance because all functions are much faster than shapefiles. This is because, in table structures, shapefiles use DBF and have field restrictions. At the same time, geodatabases allow you to enter many more field names and get better processing performance.

The peculiarity of shapefiles is that they can contain several files that function together and are one of the more versatile formats for GIS. Shapefiles are often referred to as the base storage location for GIS data that all packages can use. It’s important to remember that a geodatabase can only be used in an Esri environment, and once you leave that environment, performance can drop dramatically. This will not happen with shapefiles because the system can be run in almost any GIS program.

Personal vs File Geodatabase

Regarding personal geodatabases, it’s important to note that features and sizes are limited. The standard size is 2 GB, but despite this, you can easily access ODBC from third-party applications and add them to the database. ODBC allows you to extract data from a personal database and edit it in a special application that allows you to make unlimited queries.

In this geodatabase, users can find files using keywords like ORDER BY or DISTINCT. Personal geodatabases are the best option if your primary concern is analysis and output. However, a file geodatabase has become a better choice for many users because it has compression, editing, and raster tiles.

The file geodatabase has some limitations that have had a rather negative effect on working with files. One of the downsides was the size limit, only 2 GB. But over time, developers began to increase the volume of files to make the program more comfortable for GIS users. At the moment, you have the option to select file bases that can compress files to save storage space.

What Is the Function of a Geodatabase Schema?

The function of the geodatabase schema is that with the help of the geodatabase, users can maintain the integrity of files and apply various rules regarding data. Here you have the opportunity to edit by several users at the same time and save vector data in the database. In addition, each user can use a feature class that contains a whole set of different shapes, such as a polygon, a coordinate system, a point, or a line.

Modeling and Managing Spatial Data

In the process of storing feature classes in datasets, you can model geospatial relationships between different feature classes to allow a more thorough GIS analysis of the data. Several data structures model geospatial relationships, among which the most popular are:

  • The continuous surface of land plots is modeled using the cadastral structure. This view helps to record a specific feature and land area, which then integrates GIS data and compares it with survey data. This is done to create a smooth operation and an accurate recording of the site survey.
  • To define and enforce integrity rules, you need to use a structure called a topology. You can specify any requirement; this system will help support this request and provide access to editing tools. In addition, with the help of topology, you can not only monitor objects but also create them.
  • You can use a network dataset when you need to model transportation systems. This system consists of a whole set of edges and special connections that will easily create a model of a road, highway, bus route, or even a city street. All this is a banal example of what exactly can be modeled thanks to a network dataset.

Modeling and managing spatial data is simple if you have enough knowledge and skills. If you are a beginner who has encountered such a task for the first time, we suggest that you contact our specialists for help. You can rely on us and do not worry that they will not be able to help you. Everything is possible with our expert team!

How to Use Geodatabase for Business?

If you’re using a geodatabase for business, it’s important to remember that you’ll be dealing with attribute domains and subtypes that apply to GIS data. Special subtypes help classify data and structure it into tables, which will further help to clearly and correctly manage data. For example, if we are talking about roads, they can be divided into several subtypes: highways, railway structures, and city streets. Attribute domains are a kind of rules and requirements that describe the value of the field you are working with.

When you work with a domain, remember that you can only use the values defined by the domain. Otherwise, the fields will not accept other values that were not defined by your domain. If the value is out of range, it is automatically considered invalid, and you cannot work with it.

If you set up domains for your business process much easier, you can easily customize them according to your requirements. All of the above examples are indicative of business logic that is often used in a geodatabase. You have just seen that a geodatabase is a great business assistant and allows you to easily and efficiently use the GIS data you need in this process.


How can you determine the areas of polygons in a geodatabase? in a shapefile?

The easiest way to determine the areas of polygons in a geodatabase is to read the value in the Shape_Area field. In a shapefile, it’s a little more complicated. Here, you need to create a field called Area yourself and calculate the value using the geometry calculation parameter.

How to create a geodatabase in Arcmap?

To create a geodatabase in ArcMap, open a special catalog window and go to the file connections page. After that, you need to right-click on the required folder where the file geodatabase will be stored, click Create and select the required item from the list. The file geodatabase will then appear in the folder you selected.

How to open a geodatabase in qgis?

There are several ways to open a geodatabase file in QGIS. The first one is using the QGIS browser, which will show you the possible paths to your file. The browser has many features, from which you need to choose one, and you will get access to your database in just a few seconds.


In the digital world, a geodatabase is a great helper and main model for storing GIS data. Attribute and spatial data are available here, and you can store various types of GIS data while having access to view and edit at any time. A set of files helps to take advantage of all the tools and allows you to scale the architecture depending on the requirements and wishes.

A geodatabase is the best option for those users who need to create important geographic systems and adapt them to enterprise GIS. We’ve covered the basics of using a geodatabase, and we’re here to help if you’re having trouble. Contact our service for quality advice and assistance in creating a business space.

How We Can Help You With Geodatabase

Are you facing the difficult task of creating a geodatabase? Never used a file geodatabase before and didn’t know what to do about it? Not sure how you can use a geodatabase for business? You can get answers to all these questions on our service. Experienced specialists have enough knowledge and skills to provide quality assistance in creating a geodatabase that will be high quality and reliable. We can easily help you not only create but also manage and edit files that will be stored in the database. You can rely on us and be sure that working with us will bring only positive results and success!

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    mapping background image Volodymyr Ovramenko author image

    CEO and Founder at Mappitall

    An entrepreneur and business leader, Volodymyr began his career in the late 1990s at the Laboratory of Geoinformation Systems of the Kharkiv National University of Radioelectronics.

    In 2007 Volodymyr created Mappitall, and grew the company from a small agency providing GIS solutions to one of the industry leaders in Ukraine, a reliable technology partner for many international enterprises and top-level organizations around the world.

    As CEO, Volodymyr is the driving force behind the company’s strategy and business development, actively working on the development of Mappitall’s business model, attracting more and more talented people who share his vision and mission.