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Say I have DatabaseA, which isn't structured in a way that allows me to reference it as a geodatabase in ArcGIS. Fields have to be renamed, geometry added, etc. etc.

Now, it seems to me that what I should do is create a geodatabase, and then replicate the data from DatabaseA into what will be the new DatabaseB. Of course there is the Create Enterprise Geodatabase tool, but I still need to get DatabaseA information into it.

Would it make sense to create a database view from DatabaseA, have it set to automatically populate/append into DatabaseB, and then have ArcGIS connected to DatabaseB (the created geodatabase), or am I missing some of the workflow here?

  • are both databases SQL Server? Are you wanting to regularly/automatically copy data from DB A to DB B ? Or are you just wanting to get your existing data into a geodatabase? You should be able to view your non-geodatabase from within ArcGIS, and can use the table-to-table tools to copy from one DB to the other if that's all that is needed. – Midavalo Feb 1 '16 at 22:48
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I'm afraid this is more of a personal preference than a best practices issue. You have many choices:

  • Create the spatial table in database A with SQL tools, and access it though Query Layers
  • Create the spatial table in database B with SQL tools, and access it through Query Layers
  • Create the spatial table in database B with SQL tools, and register it with ArcSDE as a USER-set rowid simple feature class
  • Create the spatial table in database B with ArcGIS tools (registered with the geodatabases and an SDE-set rowid), and access it through Query Layers
  • Create the spatial table in database B with ArcGIS tools (registered with the geodatabases and an SDE-set rowid), and access it as a geodatabase table

Any of these procedures will work, as well as some other variants on each of these themes. What's best for your situation depends on how comfortable you are with SQL and ArcGIS geodatabases tools, and how well the native geometry tables perform via Query Layers. To some extent, you'd need to try all these options to evaluate the best one objectively, but if the first one works without difficulty, you can call it quits and move on to something else.

  • That's very good to know. It is definitely hard sometimes to know the "best" way to do something when it comes to ArcMap, especially when it comes to working with databases. – cakebug Feb 2 '16 at 14:52

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