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Spring 2004
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Open Geodatabase Interchange Using XML

Geodatabase XML is Esri's open mechanism for information interchange between geodatabases and other external systems. New at ArcGIS 9, Esri openly publishes and maintains the complete geodatabase schema and content as an XML specification and provides example implementations to illustrate how users can share data updates between heterogeneous systems.

Geodatabase XML Specification

The openly published Geodatabase XML Specification allows applications to send and receive XML data streams including

  • Exchange of complete lossless data sets
  • Exchange of change-only (delta) record sets to pass updates and changes
  • Exchange and sharing of full or partial geodatabase schemas
  • Interchange of simple feature sets (much like shapefile interchange)

Users of ArcGIS 9 can export all or any part of a geodatabase, such as individual feature data sets, feature classes, and tables, to an export file in XML format. The specification encompasses all geodatabase data types, and the exchange format allows complete export, change-only export (i.e., disconnected editing), and schema-only export. Within ArcGIS Desktop, geodatabase export and import are performed in the ArcCatalog application within ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo.

This openly published specification allows other applications to import and export data in a geodatabase friendly format. We expect other non-ArcGIS applications to import the XML file to their native formats and then export back to XML format after editing is complete. By providing a way to exchange geodatabase information, users can publish data models and share geodatabase data sets in a completely open and interoperable environment.

Widespread Adoption

ArcGIS 9 Desktop users can easily share all or any part of a geodatabase using functionality built within the ArcCatalog application. Users in the wider GIS community will be able to participate in this same data sharing using the openly published Geodatabase XML Specification. As a result, we expect to see widespread adoption of the geodatabase format in a manner similar to the shapefile format after its specification was openly published.

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