What is the product library?

The product library is a geodatabase that allows multiuser environments to centralize information and behavior for cartographic and digital data production. Production business rules, documents, and spatial information are stored inside the product library, allowing an organization to enforce and standardize production. Data model information, data validation rules, geographic extents, symbology rules, and map documents can all be managed inside the product library as examples of production business rules.

Project management and the product library

The product library allows you to manage both data and cartographic business rules related to a project or solution. It provides a means of organizing and interacting with the various parts of your project as depicted on the Product Library window. Information is presented in a tree view to represent the hierarchical relationship between the different parts of your project.

The project itself could be considered the top level of the tree view, while the product type, series, and map documents represent components that need to be managed. In the example below, the project is the SoCal Solution, the type of products being created are in the SoCal Class, and the series is based on Southern California.

Product Library window

The product library is a geodatabase that contains information related to the data or charts and maps you are producing. It stores information related to the various product specifications you are using with your project, such as the data models, data validation rules, symbology rules, masking rules, and the relationships between the different levels of the project on which you are working.

There are six different levels in the product library hierarchy, as described below. Each level is related to the one below it or above it in spatial terms. For instance, the solution contains the product class, which contains the series, which contains the products, and so forth.

Product library tree with callouts

The hierarchy provides an overview of all the parts of a project. As you expand levels of the tree view, you can see the number of product classes, series, and products that are included in a project.

Cartography and the product library

Although the product library can be used to manage projects in general, its structure can also be used to manage documents within a map series. In the product library hierarchy, there are three levels that are directly beneath the map series: product, instance, and area of interest.

Solutions that have cartographic products with standardized layouts (such as typical topographic maps), as well as ones that have custom layouts per product (aeronautical and nautical charts), can be modeled and managed inside the product library.

The table below shows the different parts of the product library that relate to cartography and how they can be customized:

Product library level

What can be customized


  • Page layouts, including surround element placement
  • Page sizes and orientations


  • The data source
  • The rotation angle on the page
  • The spatial reference

Area of interest

  • Map scale
  • Reference scale
  • Compilation scale

Product library levels and cartography

File management and the product library

In addition to the hierarchy you can see on the Product Library window, you can also manage the files that are associated with different levels of the product library. These files include map documents, databases that are associated with individual products, and files that have been copied into the product library.

The map documents associated with the product class, series, and product levels of the product library can be checked out, modified, and versioned as necessary. The map documents for the product class and series serve as templates that can be used for all documents that fall within the same product class or series.

Products are the individual maps within a series that are connected to data sources, which can also be managed using the product library. Databases that are linked to instances on products can be managed using the file manager available with the product library. You can check out the database, edit its contents, and check it back in. The revisions you make can then be seen the next time you open the map associated with that database.

Other files you may want to keep with project files, such as raster data, images, data model files, and file exports, can be saved and archived in the product library.

Product library interaction with ESRI mapping and charting solutions

There are also components of ESRI mapping and charting solutions that interact with the product library, as shown in the table below.



How it interacts with the product library

Visual specifications

A means of uniformly symbolizing features and formatting annotation so they conform to product specifications

(Optional) Stores visual specifications for product classes


A set of rules for displaying map documents, which includes which layers are visible, the spatial reference, and scale

(Optional) Stores views

Field configuration table

A table that controls the way fields are displayed on the Feature Manager, such as whether they are bold and available or unavailable, and the control type associated with the field (date picker, text box, or drop-down list)

Stores field configuration information for all feature classes included in a product class

Data Reviewer batch jobs

Groups of Data Reviewer checks that can be saved and run on geodatabases that contain feature classes referenced by each check

(Optional) Stores Data Reviewer batch job files that have been associated with a product class

Masking rules

Rules that determine which layers are displayed in the map and which are not for production purposes

(Optional) Stores masking rules for a product class


Masking rules are only available with the Aeronautical Solution.

Database elements

Surround elements that are stored in a central location

(Optional) Stores geodatabase elements

Manage files

A spatially enabled document management system that allows any document to be associated with a product and geographic extent

Access from any location inside product library

Template instructions

Defines how cartographic products should be automatically updated related to their data frames, page layout, and other actions when they are opened

(Optional) Stores instructions for templates and products

Components of ESRI mapping and charting solutions that interact with the product library

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