I am considering enabling attachments in several different feature classes. Our Enterprise Geodatabase represents as-built pipeline system features, such as joints of pipe, welds, and valves.

What I would like to do is store pictures on some features and PDFs (such as MTRs) on others. However, I am concerned that the nature of these features will contribute to unnecessary bloat in the size of the database. I will frequently need to store the same single file against multiple different features.

For instance, if I have a valve set of 5 valves all pictured in the same single photo, will using the attachments capabilities result in this single photo being stored 5 times?

Or if I have a batch of 75 joints of pipe, all with the same heat number, and thus all with the same MTR pdf file, will that pdf file be stored 75 times?

  • 2
    Yes, it will be stored multiple times, because attachment is stored in related table with field time blob. What makes you think it can be different? Hyperlink will work the way you want.
    – FelixIP
    Jan 30 '18 at 18:28
  • Hyperlinking is not ideal, as I want to ensure integrity of the data. I suppose what I could do would be to create a related table to handle the 1-M (document-to-features) relationship. It would be ideal if ArcMap handled duplicate identical blobs in a way to reduce database size. Jan 30 '18 at 20:55
  • @FelixIP can you please restate your comment as an answer?
    – fatih_dur
    Jan 31 '18 at 13:25

Yes, the same document will be stored multiple times, because attachment is stored in related table with field time blob. Hyperlink will work the way you want.

I like your idea of 1-M (document-to-features) relationship, however managing it is not going to be easy. I'd stay with out of the box solution.

Possible workaround would be creating multipart shapes, using type of features in you network.

  • I think this is the route I am stuck with if I'm only using ESRI products, and unfortunately this isn't the answer I was hoping for. I have other feature classes where I can use attachments with little or no duplication, so I will focus on those for now and handle a hyperlinking workflow later. I did try the "middle-man" table to handle the 1-M (document-to-features) relationship, which works decently in ArcMap, but the attachments do not show up in Portal. I believe this was a documented bug in AGOL that has yet to be fixed in Portal. Feb 1 '18 at 21:52
  • Portal works with global IDs, same as online.
    – FelixIP
    Feb 2 '18 at 3:31
  • My related table was created with global IDs, and the relationship based on the global ID. The attachments still didn't work on that table. Feb 2 '18 at 13:50

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