I have been working with QGIS/PostGIS for a while now, without problems, but now I have to change QGIS for ArcGIS Desktop 10.1.

I am having trouble adding a layer from PostgreSQL and being able to edit that layer. I want to work directly with the database, and if I change something in the map it should be reflected on the database.

Can I do this without a Geodatabase?

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    Esri SDE. We use PostgreSQL/PostGIS data using the PG_Geometry in SDE - this is for compatibility between systems. ArcGIS edits via SDE, other software uses the PostGIS method. ArcGIS is supposed to be able to connect (at 10.2) to PostGIS directly in a read-only sense but as we already have SDE we haven't tried that - why bark if you've already got the dog? Jul 17, 2014 at 0:51
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    The basic reason you cannot find a solution for this is that Esri has not enabled this functionality. Your idea about WFS editing might be an option, but I have not tried that. I'm working with the same type of setup, PostGIS and GeoServer, so I might try to set something up next week and give it a shot. Until then, QGIS it is! Jul 18, 2014 at 0:31

4 Answers 4


This answer appears to require an Enterprise Geodatabase (ArcSDE) and ArcGIS for Desktop at an Advanced/Standard license level.

The answer seems to be valid with ArcGIS 10.1 for Desktop and possibly some later versions.

Your PostgreSQL / PostGIS database must meet these version requirements: http://resources.arcgis.com/en/help/system-requirements/10.1/index.html#//015100000075000000

Second, you have to register the tables with the Geodatabase. This page gives you more details on how to get to an existing PostGIS table with ArcGIS: http://resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#//002p0000006v000000

  • So I can not do this without a Geodatabase?
    – Federico
    Mar 21, 2013 at 13:46
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    Pretty sure you can't. You'd also need at least Standard / Editor license on the desktop, you can't do it with a ArcView / Basic. Mar 21, 2013 at 13:48
  • Here is the page HeyOverThere was probably referring to: resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#//… Mar 21, 2013 at 17:03
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    Ouch. One more reason to not use ESRI, can't believe this is still the case in 2020.
    – Miro
    Sep 3, 2020 at 13:25

You could try to use https://www.gisquirrel.com/ to solve the problem of read/write feature in PostGIS using ArcGIS for Desktop:

GISquirrel allows you to view, edit and manage spatial data from Microsoft SQL Server or PostGIS in ArcGIS Desktop, without SDE, Server, ArcEditor [Standard] or ArcInfo [Advanced] licences.

In response to requests from GIS users all over the world, GISquirrel is now compatible with PostGIS as well as SQL Server.

  • +1 for GISquirrel. It is pretty good, there is good documentation, there is an API, the project is active and the support is very good. They released an update for ArcMap 10.5 and they are currently working on adding support for ArcGIS Pro May 18, 2017 at 18:30

I've been looking for the same solution: editing PostGIS data with ArcMap Desktop. ESRI sales rep says ArcGIS for Server is needed.

There is this solution ST-Links SpatialKit http://www.st-links.com/Pages/default.aspx It can be installed as an extension.

I added a PostGIS layer, started editing, reshaped the feature, and saved. Tested with PostgreSQL 9.3, PostGIS 2.1 and ArcMap 10.3.1 with their free trial. However, I was unable to consistently get the data to save back into PostGIS. Still working through the manual.

While this doesnt use SDE, it is not free either, but the pricing seems fair to the ESRI ArcGIS for Server software.

Not sure how to deal with topology checks, but I suspect it will have to be on the backend with PostGIS topology functions.


Check some resources on available extensions - st-links and ziggis. You can always create query layers in ArcMap for read-only access to the data.

A relation question: Using PostgreSQL with QGIS and ArcGIS?.

Found a good tutorial on enabling a geodatabase within a PostgreSQL + PostGIS. This makes it possible to edit the geodatabase data. Have gone through this tutorial myself and am able to edit the geodatabase data as usual (using PostgreSQL 9.1.3 and PostGIS 2.0, ArcGIS Desktop 10.1 SP1).

Support for PostGIS and PostgreSQL versions with 10.1

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    zigGIS is no longer supported/maintained. Mar 21, 2013 at 18:00
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    The tutorial mentioned use the ESRI product ArcGIS for Server to enable the creation of an enterprise geodatabase with PostGIS... You will certainly need a license for that... I doubt you can enable any editing of a PostGIS database from ArcGIS without an additional license (SDE or ArcGIS for Server) Jun 14, 2013 at 12:26
  • I think you should remove/qualify the zigGIS part of your answer.
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 29, 2016 at 10:32

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