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I've searched but can't seem to find any info on this which is surprising as this should be an easy one to answer.

I'm using ArcGIS 9.3 and trying to create a feature class called 'cadastre' in multiple feature datasets within the same file geodatabase.

ArcCatalog is giving me a 'The specified name already exists. Please enter a different name' error.

It's been a while since I used ESRI software but I would have imagined this was possible since they are in seperate feature datasets.

Is this expected funcitonality of the geodatabase?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

First answer - No, you can not have duplicate names in a geodatabase.

Yes, this is the expected functionality since the Feature-Dataset is only a record reference in a database. Any database will balk at having tables with duplicate names. It sounds like you are trying to use the Feature-Dataset model for organizational purposes versus the true purpose of it.

Many users will try to use them as folders for grouping data; versus the intent which is to inter-relate data via topology and relationship rules.

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Thanks for the info. I thought perhaps that internally the table name would be stored with a reference to the Feature-Dataset. – Depmadra Oct 17 '12 at 0:37
It is; but the general rules of the database still exist in that the parent datastore is just a list of tables that talk about the tables. – D.E.Wright Oct 17 '12 at 0:41
Very true Ryan; there is also the constraint on table/feature locking when using Feature Datasets when it comes to editing. – D.E.Wright Oct 17 '12 at 22:17

From the ArcGIS Server 9.3 Help:

“Feature class names must be unique in a geodatabase—you can't have more than one feature class with the same name. This is true of all feature classes in the same geodatabase, even those grouped with other feature classes in a feature dataset.”

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