MAPublisher can import several types of spatial databases including Esri geodatabases and PostGIS spatial databases. A geodatabase is a native Esri ArcGIS data format for storing geographic data. A PostGIS spatial database also stores geographic data including tables. Both are a collection of geographic datasets of various types and managed in either a file folder structure or a relational database, such as:

Feature classes or table of points, lines, polygons and annotation for discrete features

Feature datasets (group of feature classes)

Descriptive attributes stored in tables

Raster datasets and raster catalogs for imagery


MAPublisher can import several types of spatial databases including Esri geodatabases and PostGIS:

File extension

User access

Size limit

RDBMS Technology

Esri Licensing (create)*

MAPublisher Import access

Personal geodatabase



2 GB

Microsoft Access (Jet Engine)




Folder browser

File geodatabase



1 TB

No RDBMS - uses local file structure




Folder browser

PostGIS Spatial Database


Multiple (limited)




PostGIS connection


MAPublisher has the capacity to import all types of geodatabases (categorized as Personal/File geodatabases) and PostGIS spatial databases. The connection to a PostGIS server requires server access, user account and versioning information to be provided by the database administrator. Server parameters are exactly the same required to establish a connection using PostgreSQL—with a small exception for SQL Server Express connections, explained later on in this section.

Once imported into Adobe Illustrator, data does not maintain a link with the original database and database functions are not valid (topology, table/feature class relationships, subtypes and attributes domains rules). However, MAPublisher can make use of the geodatabases spatial and non-spatial relationships, subtypes and attribute domains information during the import process (to populate layer names and attributes).

Software Requirements

The MAPublisher Basic Personal Geodatabase Reader and Basic File Geodatabase Reader do not require an ArcGIS licenses for Windows and is compatible with Mac. However, this means that some import functions are limited in use (explained further in this section).

information MAPublisher supports ArcGIS 9.2 and newer geodatabases. However, there are some limitations to the direct connections from 9.2 clients to the ArcSDE 9.3 geodatabases. Please refer to Esri documentation on software requirements (service packs) and limitations.

information To use ArcGIS 10.0 geodatabases with MAPublisher, a licensed installation of ArcGIS 10.0 is required. Having a valid installation allows for backwards compatibility with geodatabases created by ArcGIS 9.2 and newer.

information If ArcReader is not installed on the default installation directory, it might be necessary to edit the binary location in the MAPublisher Preferences, Basic Esri ArcSDE Server Editor.

information Unicode characters in path names are not supported by the Basic Personal and File Geodatabase Readers.

Supported Features

Data Types

The following is a list of supported and unsupported geodatabase geometry types for import in MAPublisher:







Circular Arc*

Elliptical Arc*

Bezier Curve



* Upon import, MAPublisher converts an arc to a line where a series of vertices will maintain the geometry. In addition,  MAPublisher converts  multipart annotation into <group> objects






information To import a geometry type that requires the use of a Representation in ArcGIS (such as Bezier curves), the Behavior when Representation Geometry is Edited must be set to Change the geometry of the supporting feature—option specified when creating a new Representation in ArcGIS.


ArcGIS users can give the feature classes an alias that acts as an alternate name. Unlike feature class names, aliases can contain spaces, punctuations, and start with a number. In ArcMap, feature classes are referred to with their alias name. In ArcCatalog, feature classes are represented by their true names.


Specify to use aliases for layer names in the MAPublisher Preferences for Spatial Database > Esri Geodatabase Editor:


information Aliases for attribute field names are imported as Display Name and true field names as Name of MAP Attributes columns.

Subtypes and Attribute domains

Subtypes are particular attribute fields made to create groups of records in a feature class that share the same types of properties. The attribute fields designated as subtype fields contain numerical coded values and have a data type of short or long integer. Each coded value is associated with a description (textual). In the MAPublisher Preferences for Spatial Database > Esri Geodatabase Editor, users may choose to load subtypes as separate layers.


Attribute domains are used to constrain the values allowed in any particular attribute of a feature class (or subtypes). There are two types of attribute domain:


A range domain limits the value of a numerical attribute in between minimum and maximum values — range domains are not relevant to MAPublisher.

A coded value domain specifies a valid set of coded values for an attribute (of any type — text, numeric or date). Both coded values and their meaningful description are stored in the database.

In the MAPublisher Preferences for Spatial Database > Esri Geodatabase Editor, users can set the option to import attributes with coded values from subtypes and attribute domains as follow:


Instead: replace the codes by their description (text)

Never: import the actual values (code)

In Addition: create two attribute columns, one containing the coded values and one containing the corresponding descriptions.

Spatial Filters

During the import process, users can enter two opposite corner coordinate points in any coordinates system unit to limit the geographic area for the data being imported (see next section).


information When importing a feature class that has no art it is considered to have invalid extents and a spatial filter cannot be created.

SQL Queries

During the import process, users can use SQL queries on feature classes and tables to limit the objects and attributes to be imported.


Multiple feature classes can be imported using multiple SQL statements as long as all classes share the same source coordinate system. SQL queries can also be used to import a feature class and the attribute information from a related non-spatial table. To apply SQL queries on multiple feature classes with different source coordinate systems, use Multiple Data Import and add the feature classes in several Add sessions (see Multiple Data Import).


MAPublisher uses Esri libraries to run SQL queries. Please refer to Esri documentation for more information on supported SQL expressions and syntax—it may vary depending on the geodatabase and database server type.

Non-Spatial Relationships

MAPublisher supports non-spatial relationships between feature classes and tables during the import process using SQL queries. Here are some examples:




SELECT * FROM Feature_Class,Table WHERE FeatureClass.Id=Table.Id

Import and inner join a feature class to a related table (only features with entries in the related table are imported).

SELECT * FROM Feature_Class,Table WHERE FeatureClass.Id=Table.Id AND Table.Attribute='ABC'

Import and inner join a feature class to a related table and apply a query.

SELECT * FROM Feature_Class WHERE FeatureClass.Id IN (SELECT Table.Id FROM Table WHERE Table.Attribute='ABC')

Import a feature class without joining to a related table, but use a table value to make a query.


information SQL syntax may vary depending on the database server type.


Once vector data is imported into Adobe Illustrator, the database relationships rules do not apply anymore. It is however possible to use the MAP Attributes panel Join Table feature to join geodatabase tables with MAPublisher vector data.


information When the non-spatial table information is imported together with the feature class using a SQL query, only the vector features that have a record in the related table are imported. Import first the feature class and use Join Table in a second step: all vector features are imported and the related table information is added where a record match is found. This second option might be recommended if the database is not well known.


Topics covered in this section

Import Using Basic Personal and Basic File Geodatabase Reader

Importing PostGIS Spatial Database

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Last updated: 12/1/2020