Using ArcGIS data model designs

ESRI, along with its user community, has invested a significant amount of time to develop a series of geodatabase data model templates that provide a jump start for your geodatabase designs. These designs are described and documented at

At this Web site, you can find existing geodatabase templates as well as useful documentation on geodatabase design for many industries and applications. These models typically are a good starting point. Most users start with these design templates, then refine and extend them to meet their specific needs and requirements.

Once you find a relevant data model, you can download a geodatabase template from the site that you can use to jump-start your design. You can build a test geodatabase, load some data into it, then test and refine the design for use within your GIS.

Steps in using an ArcGIS data model as the basis for your design

The steps involved in using an ArcGIS data model are very similar to how you might import and modify any existing geodatabase design:

  1. Download the appropriate data model from the ESRI Support Center at
  2. Create an empty test geodatabase as a file geodatabase.
  3. Import the schema and set up the appropriate spatial reference for its contents. See Copying the schema of a geodatabase.
  4. Load some of your existing datasets into your new, empty geodatabase.
  5. Test and refine your design as appropriate.