ArcGIS Platform


Data Models

Geodatabase Schemas: Data Models for GIS Users

Esri has established a set of best practices geodatabase designs for various application domains. These database design models are intended to help GIS users rapidly become productive with the geodatabase and share what really works among users and our developer communities.

What's Included in an ArcGIS Data Model

The content of the data models can vary, but each data model should include

  • A case study implementation that includes a small sample database
  • A geodatabase template for importing the data model as a template on which to base a system
  • A white paper explaining the design
  • A data model poster
  • Tips and tricks on how to utilize the data model from the case study and how to use it in your work

Note: Some of the data models also have important community-based Web links for particular domains to allow collaboration in developing designs and concepts.

Sharing GIS Data Models

Esri ensures that ArcGIS data models implement relevant standards as they evolve. For example, the land records and the Arc Hydro data models are based on proven standards over the past decade. Esri also monitors and participates in many standards-based efforts at ISO, OGC, FGDC, Geospatial One-Stop, and ANSI. All appropriate standards are incorporated into the data model work.

Each ArcGIS data model uses commonly adopted spatial representations (e.g., points, lines, and polygons), classifications, and map layer specifications that can be implemented in any GIS. Each data model specifies the commonly used integrity rules for key data layers and feature classes. ArcGIS data models can be widely adopted regardless of the system architecture.


Downloads for Data Models gives you access to tools, white papers, case studies, and design templates. You can join the developer community by participating in the Data Models Discussion Conference or joining the Data Model User Group.