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A comparison of vector datasets

Release 9.1
Last modified January 25, 2006
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The following table compares the two types of vector datasets—shapefiles and geodatabases—you can edit in ArcMap.

Geodatabase Shapefile
Collections of datasets

A geodatabase is a collection of feature datasets. A shapefile folder is a collection of shapefiles.

A feature dataset is a collection of feature classes. A shapefile has one shapefile feature class.
Collections of features

A feature class is a collection of features of the same type. A shapefile feature class is a collection of shapefile features.

Point, multipoint, polyline, polygon, annotation, dimension, and network. Point, multipoint, line, and polygon.
Topologies Geodatabase datasets may contain topologies or a geometric network. Map topology may be used to integrate and edit shapefile feature classes.

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