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Best Practices for GIS Updates

  • File Geodatabase is preferred over shape file: File geodatabase feature classes retain metadata, do not have a 10-character limit on field names like shape files, and can contain null values in number fields. If your data is already in a geodatabase, please upload a zipped file geodatabase.


  • Feature datasets are not necessary. Ideally your file geodatabase should contain standalone feature classes.


  • Whether you upload a file geodatabase or shape files, please zip your files - they'll upload to the ftp faster and we can get them from the ftp server faster.


  • Use an automated export process for your weekly updates. Manual exports are slow and error-prone. Build a geoprocessing model, write a python script, or use the Data Extraction tools in the Server Tools toolbox to get fast, consistent exports every time. Extract Data and Extract Data Task will even zip up your export for you.


  • It’s best not to change feature class names from update to update. Changing feature class names breaks the link to your data in the map service. If you need to change your feature class names in your editing environment, by all means, go ahead - just change them in your data update as well, and then keep the new name in subsequent updates.


  • Let us know if there are schema changes - added a field, dropped a field, etc.


  • If you're adding a feature class, make sure you are including a layer file or mxd file so we'll know how you want symbols, zoom levels, labels, etc.


  • If you'd like to drop a layer from your ConnectGIS map, let us know, and upload your new data without the layer you are dropping.


  • Please only upload data that needs to be included in your map service. Additional feature classes in your geodatabase lead to confusion.


  • As always, send an email to when you load data to the ftp so we'll know there's an update.