They only sent us a MS Access file, what will we do?
That was an instant message from a friend (we’ll call him Adam even though that isn’t his real name) who wanted to know why he received a Microsoft Access file, rather than GIS data from a client. Adam also wondered why the Access document was over a GB and only contained tables. I explained to him about personal geodatabases and how they work and what is needed to use/view them. Of course Adam isn’t a GIS Professional, he’s a planner (yea, insert your favorite planner joke right there), but he did have a good question after contacting his GIS department.
How do I get a record of what is in that geodatabase? I don’t have ArcCatalog.
I told him to point his GIS team to one of my favorite free ESRI GIS tools (that is unfortunately hidden in the ArcScripts fiasco) called Geodatabase Reporter.NET. This tool is built using Microsoft’s .NET Framework and ESRI’s ArcEngine so you’ll need at least the ArcGIS license (Engine, View, Editor or Info) or higher.
GR.NET has 4 main components that allow users to get information about Geodatabases; Schema Reporter, Data Reporter, Geometric Network Rule Editor and Topology Rule Editor. I won’t go into all of them, but focus on the one that will help Adam the best. The GR.NET data report basically summarizes the data contained within every geodatabase object class and gives row/feature counts, spatial extents and a dataset snapshot. What this means is you get an inventory of your geodatabase. I use it to find empty object classes or subtypes that can be hard to find with ArcCatalog. I’ve included a sample of the report below. As you can see, this can be very valuable to many people who just want an inventory of new geodatabases.
For users, the help file is very well done (better than some manuals I’ve seen come out of ESRI) and walks you through all the options you have with the tool. An added bonus is that the source code is included to the C# application so GIS programmers can improve on the tools for their own use. I’d love to see ESRI start their own GotDotNet portal for tools such as this and maybe a sandbox for more ESRI applications created by their programmers what I’m sure would be welcomed by most GIS Professionals.
Adam showed me the data report of his geodatabase and I’m very impressed with how it was laid out. He’s lucky that everything is SDSFIE compliant and he’ll be able to task his GIS department with analysis and cartography requests with ease.