At my workplace we use Trimble GeoXT GPS devices or similar with CartoPac installed for GPS feature data collection. We have not used Trimble Pathfinder for several years.

For a few projects, we have been hiring 3rd party contractors to do our GPS/surveying work. One company we have hired uses software called BlueSky, and we were able to give them a copy of our SDE geodatabase schema for them to generate their GPS data collection forms to match our data collection standards. Another company we have hired seems to be using Trimble Pathfinder and requested that we provide them with a .ddf (data dictionary file) so that they could generate the .fxl (feature code library file) needed for their GPS data collection forms.

Each company will be providing deliverables in the the form of a file geodatabase at the end of the projects.

My question is: Is there a way to generate a data dictionary file (.ddf) or feature code library file (.fxl) from an existing geodatabase in ArcGIS? The third party company that requested this file indicated that it would be too much work to create these manually based on the geodatabase schema that we sent them.

1 Answer 1


Yes, but not natively with out-of-the-box ArcGIS tools or extensions. You will need to get a third party extension or add-in. The main option would be an add-in called "Trimble Positions Desktop," which will allow you to create a .ddf file from layers in an .mxd file associated with a Trimble project.

Another option is Blue Sky Evolution (formerly BSD Consulting). They have software and services that deal with creating survey code lists in .xls, .xml, and .fxl formats. However, they deal specifically with a data format called a Seed File that is heavily used by survey companies in the Oil & Gas Pipeline industry. The Seed File is a larger file organization structure that consists of the above survey code list files, an Access database (with a specific schema design called a REV database), and a drafting package that can consists of CAD .dwg "border files" (or CAD layout templates), CAD .lin "linetype" files, .mxd templates, and sample .pdf outputs. The Seed File and REV database are used to enforce survey standards on the field collection device, through QA/QC in Blue Sky's DASH software, and in final alignment sheet output in Skyline or Lightning.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.