I have been struggling for some time to find a way to search the asset tables using the FIND tool; I "discovered" address locators. Is this going to be my solution? The problem:

  • I have polygons for buildings, polygons for electrical distribution points (locations of transformers or generators), and symbols for electrical components (i.e. panels).
  • Asset or location ID is assigned to each feature (such as an asset number or pad number) which is unique.
  • All of the data related to the building such as contract and maintenance data and electrical distribution ID is in a separate table. There is also a separate table each of HVAC units, plumbing assets, and other assets all referenced to the buildings unique ID
  • A table of electrical assets reference the panel asset number, the building ID and the electrical source ID.
  • Joins will not work in that the relationships are 1-many, and the data is being replicated.
  • The tables are updated daily from an excel spreadhseet
  • System is ArcGIS 10.1 on SQL Express SDE geodatabase replicated one-way to three child servers
  • Users are searching for assets through the ArcGIS program and are trades people with little computer experience.

Searching individual tables and then having to run a link to activate relationships is ridiculous! The FIND tool just seems the logical answer but the basic tool will only search features in the TOC, not the tables. I want to be able to search the entire database, run identify, and see everything that is connected.
Example: find an HVAC unit by asset number (found in database table), zoom/pan/identify asset and can see with no further hoops to jump through the facility it's in, the electrical panel that feeds it, the generator that powers the panel, and the other electrical assets attached to the same system.

I have something that will do that now, but it was something forced and edits do not replicate. I created feature classes and loaded the data from the spreadsheets but the records have no geometry, therefore edits to the feature classes do not replicate, but I do have full search function for any string; which the users love. I need to create the system properly so it fully functions in searching, editing, and replication.

I created an address locator with the asset number as the single field but if I type in only the digit part of the "address" it will not find it, even dumbing down the confidence to 1. It will find it if I type in the full name ABCXZ12345 instead of 12345. It also does not give me the option to identify, drats!

Back to my question - will a composite address locator solve most of my problem? Is there a way to configure it for partial string search?
Long explanation but I hope it conveys what I am trying to do.

  • You might want to break up this question into two separate posts - hard to figure out what exactly you're looking for. Are you looking for a solution to join tables or relates? To understand why you're replicas aren't working? Or a tool that's userfriendly to search by a unique ID? If it's all three, you may be better suited to separating them out!
    – GISHuman
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 14:15

1 Answer 1


One solution for user-friendlyness that I've used before:

Using model builder (What is modelbuilder?) create a tool to search by unique ID. This way you can deploy this tool across work environments and all the user has to do is type in the unique id and perhaps what layer they are looking for. You can then zoom to this selection.

I would create an SQL or "select attribute" for a given layer where that attribute is the unique ID. From there - depending on your needs you can tailor it further.

You may also want to look into HTML popups wherein a user can use the point identify tool and all relevant information will be formatted to popup.

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