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I think this is a fairly easy question so apologies. Someone sent me a .gdb in Google Drive. When I download it to my computer, it is a file folder with all the .gdb contents in it. I can't figure out how to add it as a .gdb in ArcCatalog - I know it must be straightforward but I'd be very grateful if someone could explain it to me. Thanks in advance!

  • Have you an existing Folder Connection in ArcCatalog (or preferably the Catalog window of ArcMap) so that you can browse to your *.gdb, or are you trying to figure it out from Windows Explorer? The latter won't make any sense but the former should let you see the file geodatabase and what is in it instantly (unless it is corrupt). – PolyGeo May 13 '14 at 1:51
  • Yes - the project folder is already connected in ArcCatalog, so I had assumed that after adding the *.gdb to it that it would be visible. Maybe it is corrupt? I've been adding various shapefiles that I've been sent without any problem, this is the first .gdb I've tried to upload for the project so I thought perhaps I had forgotten a step but perhaps there is a problem with the geodatabase. – rhm May 13 '14 at 2:09
  • OK - so I must apologise. I just clicked 'refresh' and it appeared, so a very stupid error on my part rather than my colleague sending me a corrupted *.gdb. Thanks for your help... – rhm May 13 '14 at 2:13
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An Esri File Geodatabase consists of multiple individual files stored within a directory with the extension ".gdb"

If this is appearing in ArcCatalog as a folder, rather than a geodatabase, it is likely that the geodatabase is corrupt, possibly as a result of being shared via Google Drive.

Try asking the original sender to zip the entire *.gdb folder and send you the zip file, to avoid the corruption.

  • Hello and thank you for the response - the sender did send it as a zip file, which I unzipped as a folder/file geodatabase xxx.gdb. I saved this within my project folder on my computer. Then I went into ArcCatalog and tried to access the .gdb by going to the project folder, but I can't see it at all. I am sure I have missed a step somewhere, if you have any further suggestions that would be great, sorry as I know it is a very basic question/ – rhm May 13 '14 at 2:03
  • OK - so I must apologise. I just clicked 'refresh' and it appeared, so a very stupid error on my part rather than my colleague sending me a corrupted *.gdb. Thanks for your help... – rhm May 13 '14 at 2:14
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When using Drive for Desktop, Google Drive folders are automatically synced and a desktop.ini file is placed in every folder. File geodatabases are actually just a folder and therefore get the desktop.ini file. This corrupts the file geodatabase. I believe you can uncorrupt the file by copying the .gdb folder locally then deleting the desktop.ini file.

Our business uses Google Drive extensively, but we are hesitant to store our GIS files in GD for this reason.

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the folder called xxxx.gdb is a file geodatabase. You should be able to view it in ArcCatalog, even if it is the wrong version for your ArcMap installed version, if the version of the geodatabase is newer than your installed version you wont be able to see inside it but it should still get a picture as a geodatabase and not as a folder.

Inside the .gdb folder should be a lot of files:

a00000001.gdbtable
a00000001.gdbtablx
a00000002.gdbtable
a00000002.gdbtablx

and a single file just called gdb (no extension) which is an identifier to ESRI that this folder is a file geodatabase. If ArcCatalog is not seeing it properly it probably hasn't downloaded properly.

Note: Catalog can't see well inside Zip archives, they need to be unzipped to the file system first.

If you are having trouble navigating to the location please read this: http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#//006m0000005t000000.htm ArcCatalog will (usually) only let you go to folder connections: pre-defined locations where it expects to find spatial data.

  • Thank you for such a quick response, it is much appreciated. So I unzipped the archive, to get the file geodatabase. I checked and it contains all the expected files including gdb (no extension). I then saved the folder/file geodatabase to my computer. I then went to ArcCatalog and looked for the folder, but it is not appearing when I click on the folder I saved it in. I feel sure I am missing out a step somewhere but am not sure what. Any further suggestions gratefully received... – rhm May 13 '14 at 1:58
  • If you've got catalog sitting there waiting then press F5 (refresh) as ArcCatalog is caching – Michael Stimson May 13 '14 at 2:14
  • Yes, you're absolutely right! I must apologise. I just clicked 'refresh' and it appeared, so a very stupid error on my part rather than my colleague sending me a corrupted *.gdb. Thanks for your help... – rhm May 13 '14 at 2:14
  • I thought as much. Another happy result! – Michael Stimson May 13 '14 at 2:15

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