I have no experience with connecting to ArcSDE databases other than opening user on prod.sde connection files in Catalog, so I have no intuition for entering information about hosts/servers/etc. In our case, the data I would like to access is on an Oracle database using a 12c client.

Is it possible to connect to, and query, an ArcSDE database through an IDE like DataGrip?

1 Answer 1


The ".sde" file is simply a ESRI file format that contains the connection information required to connect to an ESRI enterprise geodatabase.

Using ArcMap or ArcCatalog, you can right-click on the ".sde" file and choose "Connection Properties" to see all the database connection information. This includes the database host machine, the database name and the username/password to connect as.

This information should be enough to be able to connect using standard database tools such as your Oracle 12c client.

Be very cautious about using a non-ESRI application when connecting to an ESRI enterprise geodatabase, though. Especially if the data is either versioned or has archiving enabled. What you see at the database level is quite different to what you see at the ESRI geodatabase (ArcGIS) level. Deleted/updated records may still be visible, etc.

Be even more cautious about editing the data through non-ESRI applications. You can potentially corrupt the database by introducing inconsistencies. If you really need to edit data by some means other than ArcGIS, refer to: http://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/manage-data/using-sql-with-gdbs/overview-edit-versioned-data-with-sql.htm and http://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/manage-data/using-sql-with-gdbs/edit-versioned-data-using-sql-oracle.htm etc.

  • 2
    While the password may be present in the .sde file, it is not extractable from the connection properties from within ArcObjects or ArcPy.
    – Vince
    Sep 5, 2019 at 2:54
  • Yes, good point! Hopefully, the user knows the password, but that's unclear from the question. Sep 5, 2019 at 2:55
  • This is good news! I know the username and password for a user that is designed to be read only view of DEFAULT, and my intent for now is to simply query data for more in-depth dashboards. The only thing I don't know is the name/address of the server, so I'll figure this out and update accordingly!
    – jesnes
    Sep 5, 2019 at 17:40
  • This indeed was the correct answer, I had to do some asking around to get the host name and other info, but I successfully connected in an IDE.
    – jesnes
    Sep 14, 2019 at 16:23

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