How To: Prepare to move GIS data and map documents to a new server


Instructions provided describe how to prepare GIS data and documents for migration to a new server. This assists data administrators with moving ArcGIS data and maps from one network location to a new network location.


The following information was created to help prepare an organization in moving ArcGIS data and maps to a new server.

By default, map documents store full path names to the data. There are two kinds of full path names:

• UNC Paths: \\serverA\GIS\Data\myShapefile.shp
• Mapped Drive paths: X:\GIS\Data\myShapefile.shp

  1. In the map document, right-click an individual layer in the Table of Contents (like Counties or Roads), and select Properties. Click the Source tab. Check the Location property for the path. For Raster datasets (such as aerial photographs), the path is listed next to the Folder property at the bottom of the Source tab.
  2. If using a Windows mapped network drive to connect to the server, paths to the data from the documents will be preserved if the same drive letter is used to connect to the new server. For example, if the M: drive is mapped to \\serverA\GIS, and the GIS folder is moved to serverB, change the M: drive to \\serverB\GIS to preserve full path names.
  3. If using UNC paths to the data, relative path names can be stored to the data in the map document. With the map document open in ArcMap, go to File > Document Properties, and click the Data Source options button. Select the option to 'Store relative paths to the data'.
    Please be aware that relative paths only work when the map and data are stored on the same drive. A map stored at C:\GIS\myMaps still contains the full path to data stored on M:\GISData or \\serverA\GISData, etc.
    For more information about using relative paths between maps and data sources, please refer to the article in the Related Information section.

  4. If images have been inserted into the map document in the Layout View, embed the images in the map document. Using the Select Elements tool (large black arrow on the Tools toolbar), select the image, right-click it and select Properties. Under the Picture tab, select the option to Save Picture as Part of Document.
  5. If you are using Joins or Relates for any layers, be sure to add the table for the Join or Relate to the map document.
  6. Any database connections may need to be re-created if they reference databases that were moved to the new server, unless Step 2 has been applied.

Related Information