Workspace and dataset management with ArcCatalog
Last modified October 27, 2007
Print all topics in : "Introducing ArcGIS Desktop"
In ArcGIS applications, you work with multiple data sources—datasets, relational databases, and file types and schemas. ArcGIS allows you to work with geographic information in many forms including relational databases, files, ArcGIS documents, and remote GIS Web services.
ArcCatalog helps you by providing an integrated and unified view of these various sources of information. The ArcCatalog application helps you organize and manage all your geographic information, such as maps, globes, datasets, models, metadata, and services. It includes tools to:
Workspaces and geodatabases provide the primary containers to store and manage geographic information for ArcGIS.
Workspaces are directories (file folders on disk) that hold numerous GIS datasets and a series of ArcGIS documents. Workspaces can contain external datasets in many file formats as well as references to geodatabases. For example, you can work with file geodatabases, connect to ArcSDE geodatabases, and work with folders containing numerous data files—such as ESRI shapefiles and coverages, JPEG images, DXF CAD files, dBase tables, Excel spreadsheets, and GML data files.
You organize your datasets and ArcGIS documents into a series of file system folders (often referred to as ArcGIS workspaces) and in geodatabases.
Organizing datasets by workspaces and in geodatabases is useful because it provides a mechanism to:
In ArcGIS, you work with system documents and files such as:
|Document type||How it is used||Filename extension||Notes|
||Double-click to start ArcMap||.mxd
||A file containing a map, its layers, display information, and other elements used in ArcMap.
||Double-click to start ArcGlobe||.3dd
||A file containing a globe, its layers, and 3D display properties for use in ArcGlobe. Part of the 3D Analyst extension.
||Double-click to start ArcScene||.sxd
||A file containing a 3D scene, its layers, and 3D properties for use in ArcScene. Part of the 3D Analyst extension.
|ArcGIS Layer file
||Drag-and-drop into ArcMap, ArcGlobe, or ArcScene||.lyr
||A layer is a set of rules for displaying and working with datasets in ArcMap and ArcGlobe. Layer definitions include symbol assignments, classifications, labeling rules, and other map use properties.
|Published Map File for ArcReader
||Double-click to start ArcReader||.pmf
||A read-only map file created using the ArcGIS Publisher extension. Read-only maps can be used in ArcReader and ArcMap. They can also be served on the Web.
|ArcGIS Style file
||Open in ArcMap to assign symbols for markers, lines, fills, and text||.style
||A predefined set of colors, symbols, and graphical elements used for displaying and representing geographic datasets according to a mapping standard.
|ArcGIS Address Locator file
||Used for geocoding in ArcGIS||.loc
||A Locator dataset and rules used for geocoding addresses in ArcGIS. Locators are types of geodatabase datasets and can be saved independently of the geodatabase as a disk file for sharing and use
||Used to document all information sets. Viewed and edited in ArcCatalog||.xml
||Metadata documents for individual file-based datasets are stored in XML files and often managed in ArcGIS workspace folders.
|ArcGIS models, toolsets, and geoprocessing tools
||Used in the geoprocessing framework||.tbx
||Collections of geoprocessing models saved using toolbox files.
|Map projection file
||Saved with each dataset as its coordinate system||.prj
||Coordinate system and map projection information for a dataset
|Geoprocessing scripts||Used in the geoprocessing framework||.py.
|Python (.py) and ArcInfo Workstation AML scripts used for geoprocessing in ArcGIS|
ArcCatalog provides an integrated and unified view of all the data files, databases, and ArcGIS documents available to you. ArcCatalog is also used to document and manage metadata and to define the schemas of geodatabases.
ArcCatalog contains a number of toolbars that are used to view datasets and to perform a number of workspace and information management tasks in ArcGIS. For example, you can use the Preview panel to view your data in a map view and use the Geography toolbar to zoom and pan across of your dataset. Here is a quick review of some of the commonly used toolbars in ArcCatalog.