I've been having a problem with the extents of feature classes in our SDE here at work. Our database is divided into feature datasets that have various feature classes in them. The problem is as follows: The feature classes are all in GCS NAD 27. Sometimes, when using ArcMap and editing data (digitizing features and filling in the fields mainly), at some point, the extent of the feature class will change. The data source is still set correctly, and while the top and right extent are still correct, the bottom and left extent get changed to -400.00 dd. It's always the bottom and left extent that get changed as well, and it's not every feature class being edited, just one feature class at a time.

I can't think of anything in particular that I'm doing to cause this. There are a couple of us editing various features classes in the SDE at the same time, but we are always working in different feature class files.

The only thought I've had so far, and I haven't had time to test this out since I thought of it, was that adding a shapefile to the mxd that has an extent outside the feature class extent is causing the feature class extent to change.

It's possible to fix the extent by resetting the data source from a feature class that still has the correct extent, but I'd like to know why this is happening so that we can fix it permanently.

2 Answers 2


The extent of a featureclass depends on the features in that featureclass.

So if you add a shapefile with an extent outside of the extent of the featureclass, the extent of the featureclass will changed.


If you are adding new features without assigning geometry it might add a false location at 0,0. Even if the feature is deleted a new extent is created.

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