I have a polygon feature class inside of my geodatabase, and I want to attach attributes from some tables that resides in a separate database. Is there any way to do this that would maintain the relationship?

I have it working with joins, but that doesn't keep the relationship inside of the feature class.

  • If they are in completely different workspaces/databases you cannot store it in a file geodatabase. For a file geodatabase containing only half of the data you can only create joins and relates that are layer based. I believe the Join can be saved either as part of a layer within a map or as part of a layer file. I don't think a relate can be stored any way outside of a layer within an actual map. SDE may have more options, but I don't have any experience with those possibilities. If Views actually can somehow work with File Geodatabases I would like to know how to set that up. Dec 10, 2015 at 18:39
  • You are right. I can export the data, and all of the attributes will come with it, and it will be saved as a feature class. But, I want to set up something that will be updated on the fly, so that I don't have to overwrite my feature class every time there is a change in one of the original tables.
    – Eric
    Dec 10, 2015 at 18:44
  • Just FYI, after some testing I found that relates can actually be stored in a layer file if the relate set up pointed to the data source feature class/table directly. If the Relate set up was created between two layers added to the same map, I believe you could only save that relate through a group layer that included both layers. Dec 10, 2015 at 19:00

1 Answer 1


Depending on what database type are you using, it can be pretty easy to set up.

If it's an enterprise geodatabase, you can create a view to join the tables.

CREATE VIEW view_name AS

SELECT column_name(s)

FROM table_name

WHERE condition

If it's a personal or file geodatabase, views are not supported.

  • I don't think that will work. I am trying to use information that is generated into tables from our accounting software, so it's on a completely separate database. I will look into Views some more, but I'm not sure it will work.
    – Eric
    Dec 10, 2015 at 18:20
  • Depending on permissions and setup it can. We have a view that is set up between two different databases. I will try to grab more details later today.
    – MaryBeth
    Dec 10, 2015 at 18:37
  • stackoverflow.com/questions/17951320/… Though you may want to perform your own search on the type of databases you are using.
    – MaryBeth
    Dec 10, 2015 at 20:48

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