How To: Determine which type of geometry storage is being used for a particular dataset


When loading spatial data in an RDBMS via ArcSDE, the configuration keyword specified during the load operation determines what geometry storage type is used. The default storage type differs for each database and additional keywords can be created and customized by altering the dbtune storage parameters within the dbtune.sde file and the DBTUNE table in the ArcSDE repository.


Since each dataset can be loaded using a different configuration keyword, each dataset could be using a different geometry storage type. There are many ways to determine which geometry storage type a dataset was stored with.
Below are a few examples:

Config_keyword in table_registry:
The configuration keyword (config_keyword) field within the table_registry table records the configuration keyword the object was initially loaded/created with in the geodatabase.

• This can be found within the table_registry table in the config_keyword column.
• The sdelayer –o describe_long command can also be used to determine the configuration keyword that was used and reads from the same source (layer configuration).

The GEOMETRY_STORAGE parameter within the DEFAULTS configuration keyword is different for each database and can vary if the DBTUNE file has been customized. Additionally, there are keywords that are specific to certain DBMSs.

• To determine what geometry storage type is being used for the DEFAULTS keyword the DBTUNE settings can be examined:

>sdedbtune -o list -i 5151 -D tucker -k DEFAULTS -u sde –p sde –P GEOMETRY_STORAGE

ArcSDE 10.0 for SQL Server Build 685 Fri May 14 12:05:43 2010
Attribute Administration Utility

Keep in mind that each object's keyword is recorded in the table_registry when it is loaded into the geodatabase. If this keyword is later modified the information may not be correct.

Data_type of shape column:
Reviewing the data_type used for storage of the shape column within the feature class’ business table is another method to determine the storage type being used.


• ST_geometry geometry storage type – ST_Geometry
• SDE binary storage type – stored with integer data_type.
• SQL Server geometry storage type – reviewing the shape column within the business table – stored with geometry data type.

This can be displayed by previewing the table within the RDBMS using a management client or by running a describe (desc) against the business table in question using SQL.



Versions 10.1 and higher: Within the ArcGIS client application the geometry type can be reviewed using the Feature class properties > General tab > Geometry properties section.

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