An overview of data support in ArcGIS
Last modified June 21, 2010
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A key requirement for working with ArcGIS Desktop is the ability to work with a variety of GIS data formats, DBMS tables, and GIS Web services.
In addition to working with geodatabases, ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo support direct use of a number of GIS and tabular data formats as well as a series of geoprocessing tools that can be used to convert data into supported formats such as a geodatabase.
The remainder of this section describes the concepts and capabilities of data access and support within ArcGIS.
|For help on||Click these topics|
|CAD data sources||See CAD Data.|
|ArcInfo Workstation coverages||See Coverages.|
|Using netCDF multidimensional and time series datasets||See netCDF.|
|Working with numerous raster datasets||See What is raster data?|
|Accessing and using ESRI shapefiles||See Shapefiles.|
|Working with tables and attributes||See Tables.|
For vector features (points, lines, and polygons), you can specify an external data source when you are performing feature class operations—for example, when adding feature layers in ArcMap or ArcGlobe or performing vector-based geoprocessing operations.
You can specify the name of an external data source in many operations in which the input is a feature class. With the exception of ArcMap editing, you can substitute the name of numerous external data sources in most operations that work on feature classes.
It's important to know what kind of geometry is expected by the GIS operation you want to perform (e.g., points, lines, or polygons) and to ensure that your external data source matches this.
Some common external data sources for feature classes include
For raster-based datasets, such as imagery, digital elevation models, and other raster data, you can specify these external data sources when you are performing raster GIS operations—for example, when adding raster layers in ArcMap or ArcGlobe or when performing geoprocessing operations with the ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension.
You can specify the name of an external data source in many operations in which the input is a raster or grid data source.
Some common external data sources for rasters include