I'd like to set up a database environment at home that mimics what I have in the office (Oracle enterprise geodatabase/ESRI's st_geometry). I want to do this for spatial database training purposes in an Oracle/ESRI environment.

I plan to set up ArcGIS Desktop Advanced (Personal Use license) as the client and Oracle XE 11g R2 (64-bit) as the database. I'll create a geodatabase in the Oracle XE database, and add a st_geometry user-defined type.

From what I've read, it looks like this is possible, in theory . The Oracle database requirements for ArcGIS 10.3.x document says that Oracle 11g R2 (64-bit) is supported by ArcGIS desktop. However, it doesn't explicitly say that the express edition (XE) of Oracle is supported. Also, it has occurred to me that I've never heard of anyone else doing this.

Since I will be purchasing new hardware and software solely for this purpose, I'd like to know ahead of time -- will this work? Can I create a geodatabase (with st_geometry) using ArcGIS Desktop Advanced (Personal Use license) in an Oracle XE 11g R2 (64-bit) database?

  • Why are you looking at Oracle, and not MS SQL Server? And do you have an ArcGIS Server license? (which is required for an Enterprise SDE) Jan 23, 2017 at 4:59
  • I'm looking at Oracle because that's what I have in the office. I want to train on the same database -- I won't ever have access to MS SQL Server at work. And no, I wouldn't have an ArcGIS Server license at home. I wouldn't be against shelling out hundreds of dollars on software for home/personal training purposes, but I imagine ArcGIS Server would cost thousands. This would be cost-prohibitive.
    – User1974
    Jan 23, 2017 at 5:04

2 Answers 2


It is your plan to "add a sde.st_geometry user-defined type" that means you will need ArcGIS Server (of which ArcSDE is a component) licensed.

If that is a mandatory requirement then your most cost effective (but still very expensive, for personal budgets) option may be the EDN.

For an effectively free Database Server (Desktop) (formerly called Personal ArcSDE), which comes as part of ArcGIS Desktop Advanced (and Standard), I think you will need to drop your requirement for Oracle XE and use SQL Server Express.

While Oracle XE is the Oracle equivalent for SQL Server Express it is not accessible via a Personal ArcSDE.

  • Thanks for your answer. Were you able to find a definitive source that says ESRI's st_geometry is only available as part of ArcGIS Server? Perhaps the fact that I've prefixed st_geometry with 'sde' is misleading. Maybe it's not actually associated with SDE? I could go without st_geometry if I could keep Oracle, and have a geodatabase in it. I would use Oracle Locator instead (it's a subset of Oracle Spatial that is included in every version of Oracle). I'll update the question.
    – User1974
    Jan 23, 2017 at 5:49
  • My answer is purely for the question interpreted as "can I use ArcSDE cost-effectively at home with Oracle?". The clarifications you seek will need to come from someone with more enterprise geodatabase experience than me.
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 23, 2017 at 5:53


To my surprise, I was able to use the Create Spatial Type tool to create st_geometry in an Oracle XE database. This worked, despite the fact that my database was not a geodatabase.

The Create Spatial Type tool adds or upgrades the ST_Geometry SQL type, subtypes, and functions to an Oracle or PostgreSQL database. This allows you to use the ST_Geometry SQL type to store geometries in a database that does not contain a geodatabase. This tool also can be used to upgrade an existing ST_Geometry installation in an Oracle or PostgreSQL database.


Unfortunately, I was not able to create a geodatabase in the database. I believe the only way to create a geodatabase in an Oracle database is to use the Enable Enterprise Geodatabase tool. One of the parameters of the tool is authorization_file, which of course, I don't have, because I have not purchased ArcGIS Server.

Provide the path and file name of the keycodes file that was created when you authorized ArcGIS for Server Enterprise. This file is in the \Program Files\ESRI\License\sysgen folder on Windows and /arcgis/server/framework/runtime/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/ESRI/License/sysgen directory on Linux. If you have not already done so, authorize ArcGIS for Server to create this file.

As a result, I do not have extended geodatabase functionality in my database, such as domains, subtypes, topology, etc..

ArcGIS Server/Enterprise Geodatabase/EDN:

With regards to purchasing a license for home use that would include ArcGIS Server, I think @PolyGeo was probably on to something with the Esri Developer Network (EDN) subscription:

...your most cost effective (but still very expensive, for personal budgets) option may be the EDN.

However, like @PolyGeo suggested, the EDN license is cost prohibitive for personal budgets:

  • EDN costs between $2,500-$6,000 + tax (Canadian Dollar), depending on the options required (date: 2017).
  • The main options to consider are if a license of ArcGIS Desktop is required and if so which one: Basic, Standard and Advanced.
  • Annual subscription (must be paid yearly), it is for development purposes only, and is for one named user.
  • There is no home or personal use pricing option.

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