Geographic Information System/Geodatabase
A geodatabase is a storage container for GIS data. Databases have many advantages over shapefiles such as:
- ability to hold vector and raster data
- ability to restrict attributes to certain formats or range of values
- ability to enforce rules on input
- and many more.
The standard geodatabase contains two major structures that you should be aware of:
- feature data set
- feature class
A feature data set is simply a collection of feature classes. You can think of a feature data set as a folder inside of the database. A feature data set will contain one or more feature classes and all those feature classes must have the same coordinate system. In other words, a feature data set is a logical grouping of feature classes inside of a geodatabase.
A feature class is a collection of common features and is analogous to a single shapefile. Each feature class must have the same geometry, just like the shapefile.
(image of geo database browser)