What is topology?

If you have features that are coincident and share the same location of coordinates, boundaries, or nodes, geodatabase topology can help you better manage your geographic data.

Geodatabase topologies help ensure data integrity. Using a topology provides a mechanism to perform integrity checks on your data and helps you validate and maintain better feature representations in your geodatabase.

In addition, you can use topologies to model spatial relationships between features. These enable support for a variety of analytic operations, such as finding adjacent features, working with coincident boundaries between features, and navigating along connected features.

Topological relationships

Topology is the arrangement of how point, line, and polygon features share geometry. Topology is used for the following:

  • Constrain how features share geometry. For example, adjacent polygons such as parcels have shared edges, street centerlines and census blocks share geometry, and adjacent soil polygons share edges.
  • Define and enforce data integrity rules: no gaps between polygons, no overlapping features, and so on.
  • Support topological relationship queries and navigation, such as identifying feature adjacency and connectivity.
  • Support editing tools that enforce the topological constraints of the data model.
  • Construct features from unstructured geometry, such as creating polygons from lines.

The process of building a topology from existing data is summarized in the following table:

Topology workflows and tasks


Design your topology.

Design a geodatabase topology

Create a set of feature classes in a common feature dataset in a geodatabase.

Feature datasets in ArcGIS Pro

Create the topology using geoprocessing tools.

Create a topology

Build and validate your topology.

Validate a topology

Share a topology for editing using services.

Share and use a topology

Use the editing environment to identify and fix errors.

Edit topology

Manage updates to feature classes and manage dirty areas.

Validate a topology

Perform other common editing tasks.

Common topology tasks