A query layer is a layer or stand-alone table that is defined by a SQL query. Query layers allow both spatial and nonspatial information stored in a DBMS to be easily integrated into GIS projects.

Query Layers behave like any other feature layer or stand-alone table, so they can be used to display data, used as input into a geoprocessing tool, or accessed programmatically using developer APIs.

Source: ESRI ArcGIS help.

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