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I am trying to understand how to create a database view that shows a 150 foot buffer around each point in a table. The table of points changes pretty frequently and I would like to use a view instead of just buffering the points and having to update the polygon layer all the time.

I am using ArcGIS 10.2.1 and my SDE database is running on SQL Server 2012.

I have some experience building view layers in a PostgreSQL environment but that was a while ago and I'm struggling to get my head around doing things in this new space.

I started out reading the documentation for the 'Create Database View' tool but am having trouble figuring out how to put together the SQL statement. Where do I put the .ST_Buffer() part of the statement? I'm confused because .ST_Buffer() only accepts the distance as an argument, and it has a dot prefix, which makes me think that I need to use it as a function. I can't seem to find any references to doing this anywhere on the web. Is it even possible to do this in the software environment I'm using?

This is the best stab I have taken:

SELECT OBJECTID, LocationID, shape.st_buffer(47.5) FROM gisdb.DCGIS.TransformerBank

When I run that the tool errors out and reports:

ERROR 999999: Error executing function. [[Microsoft][SQL Server Native Client 11.0][SQL Server]Cannot find either column "shape" or the user-defined function or aggregate "shape.st_buffer", or the name is ambiguous.] DBMS table not found Failed to execute (CreateDatabaseView).

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  • For me the first hit with "sde st_buffer" was webhelp.esri.com/arcgisserver/9.3/java//index.htm#geodatabases/…. The third hit looks better resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.2/index.html#//… – user30184 Jun 10 '16 at 18:40
  • That page only references postgres and oracle - not SQL server. If I was back in a postgres world I'd have this nailed down. When I search for "ST_Buffer SDE SQL Server" the most relevant page is desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/manage-data/… -- But even that doesn't make it clear how to form the SQL statement in the context of the 'Create Database View' page. – Kevin Jun 10 '16 at 18:42
  • I apologize. However, I thought that the idea of SDE was to make the database backends abstract. Have you tried that syntax with SQL Server? I mean SELECT OBJECTID, LocationID, sde.st_buffer(shape, 47.5) FROM gisdb.DCGIS.TransformerBank if "shape" is the geometry column? – user30184 Jun 10 '16 at 18:44
  • The functions aren't the same. In the postgres/oracle documentation the function accepts two arguments - the geometry and the distance. In the SQL documentation the function only accepts ONE - distance. That's a major part of my confusion - I don't understand how to reference the geometry in the SQL space. That's why i tried 'shape.st_buffer(47.5)' in my example code. (47.5 because the documentation says the function assumes the units are meters). – Kevin Jun 10 '16 at 18:48
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    The ST_Buffer function is a Microsoft product. It has only tangential relation to the Esri SDE.* function. There are no Esri geometry functions for SQL-Server because the database doesn't support them. As such this question is very nearly a pure database issue. I would recommend creating views using the native database client. – Vince Jun 10 '16 at 19:56
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I believe the error stems from the incorrect syntax for SQL Server's spatial buffer function. SQL Server's spatial functions are case sensitive and don't use the underscore like Esri's ST_Geometry, Oracle spatial or PostGIS. The query should look like:

SELECT OBJECTID, LocationID, shape.STBuffer(47.5) FROM gisdb.DCGIS.TransformerBank

I tested a similar query in the Create Database View tool in ArcGIS 10.2.1 where the tool runs successfully and the view renders in ArcMap.

SQL Server - STBuffer

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