Making connections in ArcCatalog

A key step in using ArcCatalog is to establish connections to file folders, geodatabases, servers, and other information sources that you plan to use.

Connecting to a GIS workspace folder

Once connected, ArcCatalog helps you manage all your geographic information sets using the Catalog tree. The nodes in the Catalog tree are organized around the various ArcGIS information types. Here is an overview for creating connections to these information types.

Making folder connections

Folders contain a number of GIS elements—for example, map documents (.mxd), layer files (.lyr), toolboxes (.tbx), file and personal geodatabases (.gdb and .mdb), as well as a number of file-based datasets. The first task for working with folders and their contents is to make a folder connection in ArcCatalog. Here are the steps.

  1. Navigate to Folder Connections in the Catalog tree.
  2. Right-click the Folder Connections item and click Connect Folder.
    Adding a folder connection in ArcCatalog
  3. Type the path or navigate to the desired workspace folder, then click OK.

Alternatively, folder connections can be made by clicking the Connect To Folder button(Connect To Folder) on the Standard toolbar.

Connecting to SQL Server Express geodatabases for administration

Database server (Database Servers Folder) connections allow you to administer SQL Server Express geodatabases—for example, to create new instances of SQL Server Express geodatabases, add users, set user properties, and so on. See Adding a database server to ArcGIS Desktop to learn more about creating and using database connections for SQL Server Express.

Making database connections to use ArcSDE geodatabases

Database connections (Database Connection Folder) allow you to access and use any ArcSDE geodatabase, including SQL Server Express, SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, Informix, and PostgreSQL geodatabases. See Connecting to an ArcSDE geodatabase for more information.

Making GIS server connections

GIS server connections allow you to connect to instances of ArcGIS Server (Connect To ArcGIS Server), ArcIMS server(Connect To WMS Server), OGC servers for WMS (Connect To WMS Server), and WCS (Connect To WCS Server).

When you make a server connection, a dialog box appears with options to connect in one of two ways—either for using services or managing services.

Option to manage ArcGIS services

You'll require appropriate access to manage services in ArcGIS Server. To learn more about managing services using ArcCatalog, see Publishing services, adding services, and removing services.

You can also use ArcCatalog to organize services in a series of folders.

Tree view for Server connections

See Adding GIS service folders in ArcCatalog for more information.

Once you have established a server connection, you can click to expand its icon (ArcGIS Server) and view the list of services. A red "x" for a server connection (Broken WMS Server connection) indicates that you are currently disconnected from the server. Double-click to reconnect.

Making interoperability connections

Interoperability connections are used to add Data Interoperability formats to ArcGIS. The Data Interoperability extension for ArcGIS enables you to use Safe Software's FME product to add support for virtually any external geospatial or tabular data format to ArcGIS.