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Esri-10GlobeLogo sRGB .png
Original author(s) Geographic Technologies Incorporated (GTI)
Developer(s) Esri
Initial release 1995 (1995)
Stable release 10.2 / July 2013
Operating system MS Windows; Linux, Solaris
Type Geographic information system
License Proprietary
Website ArcSDE Product Page

ArcSDE (Spatial Database Engine) is part of the ArcGIS product suite that integrates with a geographic information query, mapping, spatial analysis and data storage in the Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) environment. The software is designed to support multiple users across a network ranging from work groups to large enterprise databases. ArcSDE integrates seamlessly with four commercial databases, namely IBM DB2, Informix, Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle.

ArcSDE plays an important role in storing and managing spatial data (raster, vector, and survey). One of the software features enables spatial data availability to many applications and across the Internet. ArcSDE 10.1 are scheduled to be released in early 2013 and sold as a component of ArcGIS server.

Based on the trend towards larger and widely shared spatial databases, ArcSDE provides a list of benefits with the following:

  • Database connection configuration options
  • Spatial data representation
  • Database portability
  • Application portability
  • Data integrity
  • Application programming interfaces
  • Database and application development costs
  • Applications and development tools

While the traditional RDBMS software is used to keep track of the tables and records contained in the database, ArcSDE pushes the relational model higher so that geographic data that comprises several tables is managed by the client software seamlessly. Connections to the database are all routed through the ArcSDE middleware, which performs the storing and retrieval of data.


Spatial DataBase Engine (SDBE), was designed by Geographic Technologies Incorporated (GTI). The application development was transferred to Salamanca Software Pty Ltd. and was purchased by Esri in 1996.[1] SBDE was rebranded as ArcSDE and announced by Jack Dangermond at the GIS’95 conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

At ArcGIS 9.2 and higher, ArcSDE is no longer released as a stand-alone product and is part of ArcGIS for Server.

ArcSDE Administrative User Account

The ArcSDE administrative user account is an account that administers the geodatabase. The ArcSDE administrator activities involve compressing the geodatabases, maintaining versions, administering the ArcSDE Service, managing user connections and so forth.

The ArcSDE administrator owns the ArcSDE repository tables which hold the key for all geodatabase functionality. For this reason, the ArcSDE administrative account must be created before the geodatabase can be created. The database administrator (DBA) creates the ArcSDE administrator and grants this user the necessary permissions. While "SDE" is often a Database Authenticated Account, a Windows authenticated Administrative User can also be created in SQL Server. On Windows installations, a Database Authenticated SDE Account can be accomplished through the Post Installation wizard. On UNIX/Linux, this is done manually, and how it is done depends on the operating system and database management system (DBMS) being used.

See Also


  1. SpatialDBAdvisor

GIS Dictionary. [1]

External links