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Connecting to an Enterprise (relational) database from ArcCatalog

Though there are several tools to connect to your database, ArcCatalog is a preferred option to connect and manage your data hosted in CES server. With ArcCatalog, you can explore and manage geographic data stored in a relational database management system (RDBMS).

Users are given permissions that affect what they can do in the organizational database. Some users are read-only users, and can only connect to the geodatabase. Other users can connect to the geodatabase and create datasets. Others can connect to the database and edit datasets but not create or delete them. Some can perform administrative tasks such as creating backup files or performing a compress operation. We can also set up the database in a way that your confidentail datasets within the database is only accessible to you, and you are free to give viewing or editing access to others when you are ready. To access these databases, please follow the following steps.

Step 1. Add a spatial database connection to the ArcCatalog tree.

Step 2. Fill out the connection dialogue

Type the information you received from CES admin in the following connection dialogue.

Spatial Database Connection dialog box

When you create a spatial database connection, a file is created on the client computer that contains the connection information you provide through the Spatial Database Connection dialog box. Some of the information you provide through the spatial database connection dialog box is mandatory; other information is optional, depending on the requirements, policies at our server, and priviliges you are awarded from us. For instance, you can choose to save or not save any version and database user name and password information as part of the connection file.

NOTE: You can create your own version of database, and keep track of the connections and changes you made. Instructions for versioning your database here.

Database information
You specify information pertinent to the database connection in the first three fields on the Spatial Database Connection Properties dialog box.

  • In the Server field, type the name of the server on which the database you're connecting to resides.
  • In the Service field, you must type either the port number for the ArcSDE service, the name of the ArcSDE service, or the direct connection string specific to the type of DBMS to which you are connecting. It is usually simpler to specify the port number when connecting through an ArcSDE service; if you use the service name instead, there must be an entry in the services file on the client machine that contains the service name and its corresponding port number.
  • Type the name of the database to which you are connecting.

Login information
There are two login options for creating a connection to a spatial database: database authentication and operating system authentication. Your choice should be database authontication. The following sections give you more information on the difference between them if you are interested.

  • Database authentication
    If you check Database authentication in the Spatial Database Connection dialog box, you aren't required to type your user name and password to create a connection; however, if you don't, you will be prompted to enter them when a connection is established.

    Uncheck Save name and password if you prefer not to save your login information as part of the connection; doing this can help maintain the security of the database. However, if you do this, you will have to provide a user name and password every time you connect.
  • Operating system authentication
    If you check Operating system authentication, you don't need to type a user name and password in the connection dialog box—the connection will be made with the user name and password used to log into the operating system. If the login used for the operating system is not a valid geodatabase login, the connection will fail. For information on direct connections, see Properties of a direct connection to an ArcSDE geodatabase.

Connection details
In the connection details section, specify the geodatabase version to which you want to connect. The default connection is to a version named sde.DEFAULT. If you want to connect to a different version, click the Change button. This opens the Connection Details dialog box. From here, you choose either a transactional version or a historical version to which to connect.

NOTE: To read what versions are available, ArcCatalog must be able to make a connection to the geodatabase. Therefore, if the server or login information you provided are incorrect, you cannot change versions. For details on connecting to a specific version of a database, see Connecting to a specific version of the database.

If you leave the Save the transactional version name with the connection file box checked, the user will always connect to the specified transactional version using this connection file. If unchecked, the user will be prompted to choose a version to connect to every time he or she reconnects using this connection file. Note that if you have chosen a historical version to connect to, this check box will be labeled Save the historical details with the connection file. If left checked, the user will always connect to the specified historical marker or date and time when using this connection file.

If you often need to connect to different transactional or historical versions of the geodatabase, you should uncheck the option to save the version with the connection file. Doing so means you will be prompted to enter the missing connection properties every time the connection file is used.

Step 3. Test Connection
We recommend that you click Test Connection at the bottom of the Spatial Database Connection dialog box after you typed all of the required fields. If the connection test fails, contact the database administrator to ensure the database is operational and all the information you provided in the dialog box is correct. You can still add this connection to ArcCatalog by clicking OK, but you will be unable to retrieve data until the problem is resolved.

Step 4. Change connection to the version of your own

Click Change --> change the version to your own.

If there is no version created for you (it is not created by default), you have to create your own. To create a version follow the steps here.

It is strongly recommended that you create your own version when you log in to the database. Name the version whatever your username when you login. If you log in with the username "Chopsticks", name the version as Chopsticks. Doing so:
1. Everybody knows who made what change
2. You can have your own kingdom in the database
3. The default version is for final version of the database. We can integrate the varies versions in default version periodically when you are ready with your final version of data.
4. You will have greater access to your own version
5. Perhaps, the most important thing is, you will never get "hurt". GIS admin in CES usually delete any unknown editions, versions manually, or by programmatically by default. This is for security reasons and for your convenience.

Step 5. You are almost Done!!!

Hit OK

Versioning the enterprise database

Versioning allows multiple users to edit the same data in an ArcSDE geodatabase without applying locks or duplicating data. A version can represent an engineering design, a construction job, or any other type of transaction. The basic concepts of versions are as follows:

What a version is?

  • A version represents a snapshot in time of the entire geodatabase. It contains all the datasets in the geodatabase.
  • A version isolates user's work across multiple edit sessions, allowing the user to edit without locking features in the production version or immediately impacting other users.
  • A geodatabase can have many versions.
  • Below is the Version Manager dialog box accessed through ArcMap or ArcCatalog. It shows the DEFAULT version and three other versions: a quality assurance version (QA) and project versions, ProjectA and ProjectB.

    A geodatabase can have many versions

  • In ArcCatalog or ArcMap, you can perform all of the same display, query, and editing functions on a version as you can on a nonversioned geodatabase.
  • Users always access an ArcSDE geodatabase through a version. When you connect to a multiuser geodatabase in ArcCatalog or ArcMap, you specify the version to which you will connect. By default, you connect to the DEFAULT version.

The DEFAULT version

  • Every ArcSDE geodatabase has a default version called DEFAULT; therefore, versioning is always enabled for the geodatabase. It is a fundamental part of how ArcGIS operates and does not need to be installed or configured independently.

  • The DEFAULT version of the geodatabase

  • Unlike other versions, the DEFAULT version always exists and cannot be deleted. In most workflow strategies, it is the published version of the database, representing the current state of the system being modeled. You maintain and update the DEFAULT version over time by posting changes to it from other versions. You can also edit the DEFAULT version directly, just like any other version.
  • The DEFAULT version is the root version and, therefore, the ancestor of all other versions.

Creating a version

  • You create a version by creating children or branches from any existing version. You create the first version by making a child version of the DEFAULT version. When the new version is created, it is identical to the DEFAULT version. Over time, the versions will diverge as changes are made to the DEFAULT version and to the new version.
  • In the example below, the QA version is a child of the DEFAULT version and ProjectA and ProjectB versions are children of the QA version.

    Creating versions

  • Creating a version gives you the false impression you're creating a copy of the entire geodatabase. This is because each version has all of the tables and feature classes in the geodatabase. As you edit a feature class or table in a version, it is no longer the same as the feature class or table in the parent version, so you think you're storing the feature class or table in each version. However, regardless of how many versions you have, each table and feature class is stored once in the database. ArcGIS leaves each feature class or table in its original format but records any changes in tables referred to as the delta tables.

  • You can create any number of versions and have users edit them simultaneously. Multiple users can also edit the same version at the same time.
  • In the versions example above, multiple editors could concurrently edit the ProjectA and ProjectB versions. You would likely have a smaller number of users making changes in the QA version.

Creating a version

Notes: You need to have ArcInfo or ArcEditor license to create a version

Step1-2: Double Click the connected database to activate the connection, and then click the versioning tab

Step 3: Click at the current verstion -->right click --> then New

Step 4: Name your version with your OWN USER Name (strongly recommended)

Setting permissions for your version

You set the permission of a version to protect it from being edited or viewed by users other than the version owner. You can set one of three permissions on a version:

  • Private—Only the owner may view the version and modify available datasets.
  • Public—Any user may view the version. Any user who has been granted read/write (UPDATE, INSERT, and DELETE or read/write) permissions on datasets can modify those datasets.
  • Protected—Any user may view the version, but only the owner may edit datasets to which he or she has read/write permission.

When setting the permissions of versions, consider your version workflow strategy along with the needs of the various users working within that framework. You should use version permissions along with dataset permissions to control access to the data.

When setting permissions, pay particular attention to how you'll safeguard the DEFAULT version. The DEFAULT version is the ancestor of every other version in a geodatabase, and usually represents the published version of a geodatabase. Any feature or rows that are deleted from the DEFAULT version, even though they are recorded in the version delta files, cannot be restored unless the dataset is unregistered as versioned (assuming the database had not been compressed beforehand). Unregistering a dataset as versioned will restore the dataset to its configuration at the last database compress; however, all uncompressed edits will be lost. Given that, it is essential to safeguard DEFAULT to prevent accidental alterations or corruption.

There are three ways you can protect the DEFAULT version:

  • If you've chosen a strategy where users directly edit the DEFAULT version, you can create a new version as a read-only, archive version of DEFAULT. Any features accidentally deleted from the DEFAULT version could be restored from this version as required.
  • If you've chosen a strategy where some, but not all users need to edit the DEFAULT version directly, you can create new versions from DEFAULT for some of the users to edit.
  • If you've chosen a strategy where no one directly edits the DEFAULT, the ArcSDE administrative user should set the permission of the DEFAULT version to PROTECTED and not PRIVATE; PRIVATE would prevent all users except the ArcSDE administrative user from connecting to the database. With the permissions set to PROTECTED, any user can view the DEFAULT version, but only the ArcSDE administrative user can either edit directly or reconcile and post edits to it from other versions.


Connecting to a specific version of the database

  1. Click the Database Connections folder in the Catalog tree.
  2. Follow the instructions in one of the preceding sections for connecting to a geodatabase.
  3. Click Change in the Connection Details section.
  4. In the Connection Details dialog box, click the version to which you want to save a connection. This can be a transactional version or a historical version. (Note that the DEFAULT geodatabases for those stored in user schema's in Oracle (<user_schema>.DEFAULT) and the DEFAULT databases for dbo-schema geodatabases in SQL Server (dbo.DEFAULT) are also transactional versions.)
  5. For transactional versions, click This connection refers to a transactional version and choose a version from the list.
    For a historical version, click This connection refers to a historical version and click either Connect using a historical marker or Connect using a specific date and time. For each of these options, you will indicate the historical marker or date and time you want to use.
  6. Click OK to close the Connection Details dialog box.
  7. If you don't want to connect to this version of the database each time you open ArcCatalog, uncheck Save the <transactional or historical> version name with the connection file.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Type a new name for the database connection.
  10. Press Enter.
  • If you uncheck Save the version name with the connection file, the next time you connect to the geodatabase through ArcCatalog or ArcMap using this connection file, you will be prompted to choose the desired version.

Learn more about versioning

Populating an enterprise database

Creating a Feature Dataset and inporting feature classes

As soon as the connection creatged, you are ready to populate the database with your data.

 In this example, you will be creating a Feature Dataset.

Step1-3: Right Click the Data connection like

 Step 4: Name your future dataset

 It is recommend that you use your login

Note: Any data that does not have login information or project name will be removed unless given an exemption by the GIS admin in CES.  


Step 5: Must set coordinate system

 You can choose one of three: Geographic Coordinate System, Project Coordinate System or Unknown.

 Or you can import the coordinate system using your data

Click - you will import coordinate system for this example.

Locate your data and choose a shape file

Let choose  


 Coordinate system is set


You can set Z coordinate system – if needed with your data

Click for our example


Set the XY Tolerance

Click - you are going to stay with default for this example dataset.

Step 6: Locate and click your and right click, import


Choose, and select

Click to import feature data – browse for data

Select for this example.


Step 7: You must choose Output Feature Class

Let type California for this example


Click after the data has been successful import into ArcSDE database.

You should see in ArcCatalog.

 You import Multiple Feature Classes into ArcSDE

Choose, and select
Click to locate your data.

Choose several Feature Classes.


Click , when you are ready to import the data into ArcSDE.

Click after the data has been successful import into ArcSDE database.

You should see in ArcCatalog.

Step 8: setting priviliges to your data

After importing your data, you need to set privileges (set security access) to your data. You are working with database server, the database server needs to know who can have access to your data. First, you want to give yourself access to your data. If you are working in ArcGIS Server, you need to give ArcGIS Server account access to your data. Lastly, you can add other users to access your data.

Select data layer the ArcSDE environment.


Right Click the data layer, and choose

Now - you need to add your login as administrator for the data layer.

Type: YourLogin

Click allow yourself access to your data.

By this way, you can also set others' priviliges to your data.


Exporting, downloading the data on your local machine

Though, you can edit and update your data directly within the relational database hosted on the server, you can also download the data to your local desktop, and upload to the server when you finished editing. This may be useful particularly when your internet connection is too slow. Since the editing process is then carried out on your local desktop, doing so you can also reduce server load. T o do that, simply follow these steps shown in below figure.

Then, define your file name and output location.