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I have a file geodatabase that contains 3 feature classes in it and each feature class contains a lot of data that will be viewed and edited daily by 6 other users. I am looking for any advice from people who have been in the same situation and the best practices to avoid edit lock outs and to keep everything running smoothly as possible. Is these any open source tools I can use that will enable multi user editing on a file geodatabase? Thank you!

Edit: My work only has ArcView level licencing with a couple extensions (Business Analyst, Network Analyst and Spatial Analyst)

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U mention 3 features? I define a feature as a single geometric shape within a feature class. Are you talking about feature classes or perhaps feature datasets (that can contain multiple feature classes)? – Simon Nov 3 '10 at 11:49
I meant feature classes, sorry about that. – Furlong Nov 3 '10 at 15:25
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I agree, Attempting to utilize the proprietary (fgdb or pgdb) db format created by esri and managed through their licensing is a fruitless path. If you are determined to not spend license money you will spend resource (your time and the time of other employees) money. What you are proposing is doable with an opensource rdbms or a proprietary lite version of rdbms, and some interoperable tools (most of the good ones though are not free). So in the long run you either need some expensive experience or some good tools, both are costly. Arcview just is not the tool to get-er-done. Task functionality matrix

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Use a file GDB as the master (on server), extract COPY to 6 personal GDB (2GB limit) or 6 FGDB if over 2GB. Individuals edit each GDB then place in folder with a template FILE Geodatabase [empty but has schema set up] for nightly APPEND (geoprocessing server)

Schema TEST —Input dataset schema (field definitions) must match the schema of the target dataset. An error will be returned if the schemas do not match.

Disadvantage: Data Conflicts - One Feature Multiple edits by 2 plus users. Append will overwrite previous appended file. Can be detected by a compare < this is cheaper than getting an Arc Info licence.

Successfully implemented in a previous role...

Can be also achieved with FME 2010

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A good approach, except I'd dispense with personal gdb's altogether for simplicity and performance sake (unless you need to access the data with non-esri tools, in which case p-gdb or shapefiles are your only options). Also nobody has answered the obvious, "No, you can't have multi-user editing in a file geodatabase of the same feature dataset/class." – matt wilkie Nov 3 '10 at 2:11
Unless using the Geodatabase Open API...? to be continued.. – Mapperz Nov 3 '10 at 2:25
oh. Compare requires Production Mapping extension (a.k.a. Production Line Tool Set in pre-v10), though at $10k is pretty much the same price as upgrading single-use ArcView to ArcInfo (2009 prices). – matt wilkie Nov 3 '10 at 2:32
But ArcInfo still requires ArcSDE for mutli-user editing ($28k) so Mapping Ext is still a cheaper option. – Mapperz Nov 3 '10 at 13:53
Arcinfo comes with Workgroup SDE, which is ArcSDE on top of SQL Express; has a limit of 4 or 10 connections depending on which version of ArcGIS you are using (9,10). – matt wilkie Nov 3 '10 at 18:44

I wouldn't attempt this with a fGDB. It'll be one headache after another. If you need multi-user editing, you should go with an SDE GDB. If you've only got six editors, workgroup SDE would work well for you. From the ArcGIS 10 documentation: Types of geodatabases

ArcGIS Server Workgroup also includes ArcSDE support for SQL Server Express. With this level of ArcSDE, you can use SQL Server Express for up to 10 simultaneous Windows desktop users and editors (users of ArcView, ArcEditor, ArcInfo, a custom ArcGIS Engine application, AutoCAD, MicroStation, and so on) plus any number of additional server connections from Web applications. (Consult your license agreement for specific information on the number of connections for your implementation.)

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I agree with you, unfortunately I do not have access to SDE GDB. My work only has ArcView level licencing with a couple extensions (Business Analyst, Network Analyst and Spatial Analyst) – Furlong Nov 2 '10 at 22:07
I would say keep each editor's data in its own fGDB...that, or petition whoever writes checks to pony up some $$ for an SDE license. – Derek Swingley Nov 2 '10 at 22:15

This cannot be done with ArcView. (Editing the same PGDB/FGDB by several users at the same time.) Look into to upgrading to ArcEditor: ArcEditor allows multiple users to simultaneously modify and edit data.

As a side note; I was involved with developing an application where we tried to emulate multi-user editing with personal databases and it ended up being fairly complex with mixed results. The reasoning was the same; a multi-user database was too costly. It ended up costing a lot more trying to develop such environment. In the end it would have been better to invest into ArcSDE or like solution.

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Would I just need 1 ArcEditor licence and keep the other users at the Arcview level or will everyone have to have an ArcEditor licence? – Furlong Nov 3 '10 at 15:30
All users would likely need ArcEditor. Ideally, you would probably want to implement SDE Geodatabase. This way network traffic would also be managed properly and all users could stay with ArcView. – Jakub Nov 3 '10 at 16:17

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