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MDB is a database file used by Microsoft Access, but in a GIS context it use to be an Esri Personal Geodatabase which is based on Microsoft Access.

Table of contents

Quick overview


Note: Personal GeoDatabases were introduced by Esri in ArcGIS for Desktop 8.0 (1999).

Description: Original data format for ArcGIS geodatabases stored and managed in Microsoft Access data files.(This is limited in size and tied to the Windows operating system.)

Number of users: Single user and small workgroups with smaller datasets: some readers and one writer. Concurrent use eventually degrades for large numbers of readers.

Storage format: All the contents in each personal geodatabase are held in a single Microsoft Access file (.mdb).

Size limits: Two GB per Access database. The effective limit before performance degrades is typically between 250 and 500 MB per Access database file.

Versioning support: Only supported as a geodatabase for clients who post updates using checkout and check-in and as a client to which updates can be sent using one-way replication.

Platforms: Windows only.

Security and permissions: Windows file system security.

Database administration tools: Windows file system management.

Notes: Often used as an attribute table manager (via Microsoft Access). Users like the string handling for text attributes.

Additional documentation

Additional resources

Probably not all the resources are in this list, please use the ArcGIS Search tool looking for: "personal geodatabase".

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