What is a geodatabase?

At its most basic level, an ArcGIS geodatabase is a collection of geographic datasets of various types held in a common file system folder, a Microsoft Access database, or a multiuser relational DBMS (such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, Informix, or IBM DB2). Geodatabases come in many sizes, have varying numbers of users and can scale from small, single-user databases built on files up to larger workgroup, department, and enterprise geodatabases accessed by many users.

But a geodatabase is more than a collection of datasets; the term geodatabase has multiple meanings in ArcGIS:

Each of these aspects of the geodatabase is described in more detail in the other topics in this section of the help.