I have postgreSQL installed on my machine.My machine already has ArcGIS 10. No Sde installed. Can we create geodatabase in PostgreSQL with out installing ArcSDE?

Jay Cummins is right. I am intended to use create esri geodatabase. Can we do this with direct connect by simply installing postgreSQL on same/remote machine? Can we connect to Postgres with ArcCatalog and create featureclasses. Can we load raster in it? I have seen in many articles mentioning post-installer to setup the ArcSDE objects in the database even for direct connect. Should we need ArcSDE?

  • 2
    If we are assuming that the geodatabase is an Esri geodatabase, then I don't think the question is a duplicate of the above-mentioned question. Although I think there are 2 separate questions here. Can you direct connect? Can you create the Esri geodatabase in PostgreSQL without ArcSDE. – Jay Cummins Jun 8 '12 at 0:13
  • @JayCummins - Point taken. Hopefully the OP can provide some insight on whether they want to create an ESRI geodatabase in PostgreSQL, or if the objective is to simply store spatial data in a PostGIS/PostgreSQL database and access it through ArcGIS. – Get Spatial Jun 8 '12 at 1:16

Assuming you only want to read the database and don't mind losing the "features" of a GeoDatabase (I'm not actually sure what the benefits are myself), then ArcGIS 10 allows you to use something called Query Layers: http://blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/2010/04/14/query-layers-arcgis-10/

Alternately you can use "Direct Connect", which was in 9.x - http://webhelp.esri.com/arcgisdesktop/9.3/index.cfm?TopicName=Properties_of_a_direct_connection_to_an_ArcSDE_geodatabase In relation to PostGreSQL:

If you make a direct connection from an ArcGIS client, such as ArcGIS Desktop, no additional installation is needed on the client machine. If, however, you want to connect from a third-party client, each client machine from which you make a direct connection to the database must have the appropriate connectivity driver (such as psqlODBC or JDBC) installed and configured. Consult the documentation for your third-party software for information on the appropriate driver.


Based on the updated information in your question, I think it is pretty clear that you need to have a license of ArcGIS for Server. This software now has ArcSDE integrated into it.

Based on this article: Storage in a Relational Database Management System - I think it is clear that to create an ESRI Geodatabase in PostgreSQL, which is an RDBMS, you need the ArcSDE technology.

This document shows the breakdown of the Multi-User Geodatabase types offered by ESRI.

The only other types of ESRI Geodatabases, are the Single User Geodatabases. There are two types, the Personal Geodatabase and the File Geodatabase. These can both be created using a standard ArcGIS installation, or you can use the OGR libraries to create them outside of the ESRI software products, using the File Geodatabase API.

Update for clarity If you are using PostgreSQL, or another supported RDBMS as your spatial data repository, there are two ways you may access data.

  • If you wish to see ESRI object types like Feature Classes; Feature Datasets; Geometric Networks, Relationship Classes, Raster Catalog, etc; or perform ESRI-based operations like geodatabase versioning, replication and synchronization, then you must go through this installation process: ArcSDE 10 for PostgreSQL Installation Guide This process requires the ArcGIS Server license that you have.
  • If you solely want to store geographic data in the RDBMS using the Open Geospatial Consortium's Implementation Specification for Geographic Information, Simple Features Access for SQL, which is an open standard, and access it through ArcGIS, then you need to do the following:

    1. Install PostGIS for PostgreSQL - This provides the geographic object support for the RDBMS.
    2. In ArcGIS, you will use the Make Query Table command to create a spatial layer or data table using an SQL query from the PostGIS spatial database.

    This does not require a license of ArcGIS Server, but again, your data will not be stored in the ESRI object types listed above.

  • Thanks Get Spatial. I do have ArcGIS Server license. By saying ArcSDE integrated, are you saying that there is no seperate installation that runs when I install the ArcGIS Software. In other words, I do not have to follow an order while installing Postgres and ArcGIS (since there is not additional tier that sits on top of Postgres). Or Do I still need to run a seperate installation for PostgreSQL. – OPENGISTECH Jun 8 '12 at 21:47

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