Exercise 1: Add a database server to the Catalog tree and create a geodatabase

This topic applies to ArcGIS for Desktop Standard and ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced only.

Complexity: Beginner Data Requirement: ArcGIS Tutorial Data for Desktop Goal: Connect to a database server in ArcGIS for Desktop and create a geodatabase.

Once you have all the software and tutorial data installed, connect to the database server and create a geodatabase.

You connect to and administer database servers from the Catalog tree. Therefore, open ArcMap and open the Catalog window.

Starting ArcMap and opening the Catalog window

  1. Start ArcMap by clicking Start > All Programs > ArcGIS > ArcMap 10.2.1.
  2. Click Blank Map under New Maps on the ArcMap - Getting Started dialog box and click OK.
  3. Click the Catalog Window button Catalog on the Standard toolbar.

The Catalog window opens.

Adding a database server

One of the folders in the Catalog tree is called Database Servers. This is where you add a connection to the database server.

  1. Expand the Database Servers folder in the Catalog tree.
  2. Double-click Add Database Server.
  3. On the Add Database Server dialog box, provide the name of the database server. This is in the form <server_name>\<instance_name>, where the server name is the name of the server on which SQL Server Express is installed and the instance name is the name of the SQL Server Express instance.

    For example, if a database server is named SOPHIE\SQLEXPRESS, SOPHIE is the server name and SQLEXPRESS is the instance name.

    If you are unsure of the name to use, contact the administrator of the database server for this information.

  4. Click OK.

A new database server connection appears under the Database Servers folder of the Catalog tree.

Creating a geodatabase

The database server administrator creates the geodatabases on the database server. Since you are the database server administrator, you will create a geodatabase. Name the geodatabase Osokopf.

  1. In the Catalog tree, right-click the database server on which you want to create a new geodatabase.
  2. Click New Geodatabase.
  3. Type Osokopf in the Geodatabase name text box.

    The name must begin with a letter, cannot contain spaces or special characters (such as *, &, !, %, ., +, or -), and have a maximum length of 31 characters when combined with your server name.

  4. If you want to change the database file location, specify the new location in the Geodatabase file text box by clicking the ellipsis button (...) and browsing to the location.
  5. The location you use to store the geodatabase file must be on the same computer as the SQL Server Express instance. In this case, use the default location.
  6. You can specify the initial size of the geodatabase in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB). For this geodatabase, change the initial size by typing 30 in the Initial Size text box and choosing MB from the Units drop-down menu.

    When determining the initial size of the database, you should take into account the size of the data you plan to load into it and the amount of editing you anticipate doing. If you make the initial size too small, the database will grow to accommodate the data. However, increasing the database file size uses extra resources, which could slow down database performance. If you make it too large, you needlessly use up storage space on your computer. Since you will only be loading a small amount of data and doing a few edits for this tutorial, 30 MB will suffice.

  7. Click OK.

A progress bar is displayed while the database file and geodatabase schema are created. When complete, the new geodatabase appears in the Catalog tree.


If you get an error message indicating the server library could not be loaded, confirm that the correct SQL Server instance was enabled to store geodatabases.

You logged in to the computer where ArcGIS for Desktop is installed using a login that is a database server administrator. In the Catalog window in ArcMap, you added a connection to the database server and created a geodatabase on the database server. You will load data into this geodatabase in the next exercise, Exercise 2: Load data into a geodatabase and update statistics.