View data from a database or cloud data warehouse in ArcGIS

You can view the data in database tables by dragging them from the Catalog pane onto the Contents pane in ArcGIS Pro. This creates a query layer in the map. If there is a spatial field in the table, features will draw in the map.

To view the spatial contents of tables containing a large number of features or if each feature in the table has a large number of attributes associated with it, create a query layer rather than drag data from the database connection in the Catalog pane onto the map. For instructions to create a query layer, see the help appropriate to the type of database you use:

To view a point layer in a relational database or cloud data warehouse that contains a large number of points that are spatially clustered, enable feature binning on the layer.

What data appears on the map

The following rules apply when you add data from a database or data warehouse to the map:

  • Data types that do not map to an ArcGIS data type will not appear in ArcGIS.
  • Feature classes must contain one spatial reference and one type of geometry: either points, lines, or polygons. ArcGIS determines the spatial reference and geometry type from the table metadata or from the first row accessed by the query layer. If the spatial reference cannot be determined for a database table, you will be prompted to provide spatial reference information. Only features of that type and spatial reference will be displayed.
  • Feature classes can contain only one spatial column. ArcGIS uses the first spatial column it encounters, reading the feature class table from left to right. If your table contains more than one spatial column and you don't want to use the first one, modify the query layer to include the other spatial column instead.
  • ArcGIS does not place delimiters around table and field names. Tables with names or field names that require delimiters cannot be displayed on the map. See Database and cloud data warehouse data and ArcGIS for more information.
  • Features must pass ArcGIS geometry validation.

Add data to the map

The following steps describe how you can view data from a database or cloud data warehouse in ArcGIS Pro:

  1. Create a connection in the Catalog pane.

    A list of tables to which you have access in the database is displayed. Tables that contain a spatial column (feature classes) have a blank square icon Empty feature class.

  2. Click the table or feature class in the expanded database connection to select it.
  3. If the feature class contains a reasonable amount of data—in other words, you could view all the features on the map at once—drag the table from the Catalog pane to the Contents pane or the map to view the data.
    • If ArcGIS Pro cannot find a field that qualifies as a unique identifier, you must define one.
    • If you drag in a feature class, ArcGIS calculates the spatial extent of the data. If you add a table that contains a large number of features, extent calculation can take a while. If you know the extent of the data or want to use the extent of your spatial reference instead of waiting for ArcGIS Pro to calculate the extent, click the appropriate button on the Calculate Extent dialog box. If you click Input Extent, type a valid extent that includes all the features in the table. If you click Use Spatial Reference Extent, the data extent is set to the full extent of the spatial reference of the feature class.

      Alternate ways to calculate extent

  4. If the feature class contains so many features that you cannot reasonably view them all on the map at once, use the Add Query Layer interface to add the data to the map instead.

    Define a SQL query that returns a usable amount of relevant data.

  5. When a query layer that contains a spatial field is added to the map, the features draw on the map.
  6. Optionally, right-click the table in the Contents pane and click Attribute Table to view the attribute data.

To change what data is displayed, open the layer properties and change the query or properties that define the layer's source.