Set up related tables in ArcMap for use in ArcGIS Collector or ArcGIS Field Maps

Last Published: January 9, 2024


When working with related tables in ArcMap, some form of unique value is required to represent the relationship between the 'primary key' and 'foreign key'. Esri recommends creating relationships using the GlobalID field on the layer so the primary key of the relationship is unique when establishing a connection to a new inspection record.

The most convenient way to achieve this is through Global IDs and GUIDs. Both data types store registry style strings comprising 36 characters enclosed in curly brackets, for example, {90A942E1-BC7C-4F1E-94D5-AACAAD24F08C}.

Global IDs and GUIDs have a few differences. ArcGIS actively maintains Global ID fields (that is, when a new feature is created, a Global ID value is assigned), whereas, GUID fields are left blank. The onus is on the user to maintain these fields.

To use related tables in a Relationship Class, the Global ID in the origin table can be used as the primary key, and the GUID field in the destination table can be used as the foreign key. Using this method, ArcGIS automatically copies the primary key (Global ID) into the foreign key (GUID) field.

ArcGIS Collector on the Windows platform is officially in deprecation and scheduled to retire on Oct 1st, 2024.
ArcGIS Field Maps launched in the fall of 2020 (on Android and iOS) as the next generation successor to several of Esri’s field apps, including Collector. See the ArcGIS Field Maps Migration Guide

ArcGIS 10.8.2 is the current release of ArcGIS Desktop and enters Mature Support in March 2024. There are no plans to release an ArcGIS Desktop 10.9. It is recommended that you migrate to ArcGIS Pro. See Migrate from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro for more information.


The following workflow demonstrates how to set up related tables for use in ArcGIS Collector or ArcGIS Field Maps by adding Global IDs in ArcCatalog. In this example, a relationship is made between a feature class, Weeds, and a related table, Inspections.

  1. Set up the feature class with the desired fields.
  2. Set up the related table with the desired fields. See: Adding and viewing tables in ArcMap
  3. Add the Global ID field to the Weeds feature class.
    1. Right-click the Weeds feature class in ArcCatalog.
    2. Select Manage > Add Global IDs…
  4. Add a GUID field to the Inspections table.
    1. Right-click the Inspections table in ArcCatalog.
    2. Select Properties.
    3. On the Fields page, add a field named Weed_ID and specify the Type as GUID.
  5. Create a relationship class between the feature class and the table.
    1. Right-click the file geodatabase in ArcCatalog.
    2. Select New > Relationship Class…
    3. Follow the prompts. Assign the following:
      • Origin Table = Weeds feature class
      • Destination Table = Inspections table
      • Primary Key = GlobalID (Weeds feature class)
      • Foreign Key = Weed_ID (Inspections table)

Article ID:000015422

  • ArcMap
  • ArcGIS Collector

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