Feature datasets in ArcGIS Pro

A feature dataset is a collection of related feature classes that share a common coordinate system. Feature datasets are used to facilitate creation of controller datasets (sometimes also referred to as extension datasets), such as a parcel fabric, topology, or utility network. Feature classes that are to be included in an extension dataset are first organized into a feature dataset.

The following diagram displays the supported data types in an ArcGIS Pro feature dataset:

Supported data types in an ArcGIS Pro feature dataset

The process to set up a feature dataset involves three primary tasks:


When working with an enterprise geodatabase, feature classes can only be added to the feature dataset by its owner.


In enterprise geodatabases, the owner of the data can grant privileges on a feature dataset to allow other database users to view or modify the feature classes it contains.

When granting privileges for users or roles at the feature dataset level, privileges apply to all feature classes in the feature dataset. It is not possible to grant specific privileges to feature classes in a feature dataset. When a new feature class is added, it automatically inherits the privileges set on the feature dataset.

See Grant and revoke dataset privileges for information about setting privileges on a feature dataset.

Spatial reference

When a feature dataset is created, you must define its spatial reference. This includes the coordinate system, either geographic or a specific projection, as well as coordinate units and tolerances for x-, y-, z-, and m-values. All feature classes in a feature dataset must share a common coordinate system, and the x,y coordinates of their features should fall within a common spatial extent.

When you create a feature class in an existing feature dataset, the coordinate system is inherited from the feature dataset.

See An overview of spatial references for information about defining the coordinate system and spatial reference.

Create a feature dataset

To create a feature dataset, complete the following steps:

  1. Right-click the target geodatabase in the Catalog pane, point to New, and click Feature Dataset Feature dataset.

    The Create Feature Dataset geoprocessing tool opens.

  2. Type a name for the feature dataset in the Feature Dataset Name text box.
  3. Choose a coordinate system. Select one from the Coordinate System drop-down menu, or click the Select coordinate system button next to it and choose one from the Coordinate System dialog box.
  4. Click Run to create the feature dataset.