I have a simple script that copies four feature classes from a sde geodatabase and places them in a file geodatabase. Three of the feature classes run quickly but the forth feature class has a few hundred-thousand records. The larger feature class takes about five minutes to process. I'm currently utilizing the feature class to feature class tool. I've also tested with the copy tool and experienced similar runtimes. I noticed in ArcMap the fastest way to copy the data is to right-click on the layer and select Data-->Export Data.

Is there a specific tool in the "system tools" that works off the same algorithm or is there a tool that is quicker than the "feature class to feature class" and "copy" tools and also functionally equivalent?

1 Answer 1


If the data's schema does not change between the SDE and GDB you can use truncate and append. It can be faster than feature class to feature class. It is very important that the schema does not change over the lifetime of the automation, though. Otherwise feature class to feature class is the best option. If the schema differ somewhat you can use field mapping during the append operation. Easiest way to map fields is to use the geoprocessing tool and right click>copy as python snippet from the geoprocessing results window.



  • thanks atxgis. That's an interesting approach though I was able to get processing time down to 2.5 minutes using the original approach and that will suffice. Interesting tidbit, I ran the same script with ArcGIS Pro's Arcpy module and processing time went up to 8 minutes. The extra time seems to be going to the larger feature class
    – James
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 13:27
  • What does it mean exactly to truncate a table? The help doesn't tell. Commented May 31, 2018 at 21:35
  • @EmilBrundage it means you delete all the records in the table but the schema remains intact.
    – atxgis
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 14:04

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.