A quick tour of feature classes


This topic assumes that you have a basic understanding of feature classes. If not, read Feature class basics and Modeling feature classes before you continue.

A feature class is a collection of geographic features that share the same geometry type (such as point, line, or polygon) and the same attribute fields for a common area. Streets, well points, parcels, soil types, and census tracts are examples of feature classes.

Related feature classes are often grouped together in a feature dataset. If you want to use topology to manage how features share geometry, build a geometric network for a utility layer, build a network dataset for routing and optimization, or build a terrain (a TIN data structure), you need to organize your feature classes in a feature dataset.

There are four primary ways to create a new feature class in your geodatabase:

You create empty feature classes in the Catalog tree. New feature classes can be created as part of a feature dataset or as stand-alone feature classes in a geodatabase. They can also be contained within the following structures: shapefile, coverage, CAD, SDC, and VPF.

The following topic, Defining feature class properties, details the properties and options available when creating a new feature class.

If you feel you are comfortable with feature classes and their properties, skip directly to How to create feature classes.

Once you've created a feature class and populated it with features, you might be able to speed up attribute queries by creating attribute indexes. See Creating attribute indexes for more information.

Published 6/8/2010