Is it possible to have a single point feature associated with multiple records in an attribute table?

For example, if I had a shapefile of type POINT containing 100 points indicating fire hydrants but I wanted the attribute table to contain records of all use of the fire hydrants, such that when I clicked on say fire hydrant #80, it selects all the records in the attribute table with use of fire hydrant #80.

I've not tried this yet, but as I understand it, the relationship is 1:1 (1 feature to 1 record). In the given example, if I had 100 features but the attribute table had 500 records, I believe that would be an invalid shapefile correct? The only way to resolve this is to "overlap" features, such that when it appears I am selecting a single feature, there are really, for example, 6 features representing fire hydrant #80 on top of one another. If possible, I would like to not do that kind of workaround.

  • No, it's not possible. While a shapefile has multiple files, it is a single logical record. It's possible establish relationships in more sophisticated formats like file geodatabase, where a single tower can have multiple transmitters and every transmitter must have a tower, but that's different. – Vince Feb 13 '19 at 0:56
  • @Vince Yea I was trying to avoid writing a .gdb since its a proprietary format. Looks like my "workaround" is the only visual way to accomplish this. – pstatix Feb 13 '19 at 0:58

Assuming that you are using ArcGIS, you can relate a table to create a one to many relationship. The relationship is stored in the map document.

There's no need to create a geodatabase, but that is another option, of course.

Here is a good link summarizing the different ways to link data to map features in ArcGIS: http://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/manage-data/tables/about-joining-and-relating-tables.htm

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  • A relationship class desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/manage-data/relationships/… can be created in a geodatabase relating a single geometry row (feature) to multiple rows in a separate table.. this makes the relationship permanent so it's not gone as soon as you close the MXD, however you still have the option of opening the feature class and/or table without the relationship class in ArcMap. – Michael Stimson Feb 13 '19 at 1:18

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