Selecting your database type

Civil Pro can operate as either a standalone (file based) system on a local computer, or as a server install (SQL Server) networked between multiple users. You need to decide which kind you are going to use right at the start, so a little bit about each is below. There is no difference in the use of Civil Pro once the database is set up.

Selecting Database Type


A standalone database stores all of its information in a single file which is saved locally on your computer or a network share.


  1. Simple to administer
  2. Backup by making a copy of the database
  3. Easily archived
  4. Portable


  1. Very little multi-user capability
  2. Slower with large projects
  3. No server based automation of backup processes and data recovery

Server Install

A server install can be set up on a single machine. It does not need to be a server computer. The term server refers to the technology – being a database server. You can run Civil Pro’s client application and a Microsoft SQL Server Express easily on a modern computer.

Of course, if you have a company wide system or many users, you will want the database to run on a central machine with reasonable specifications.


  1. Essential for multi-user environments
  2. Data can be aggregated across projects
  3. Central control of all data and backup processes
  4. Stronger access control
  5. Can be inexpensively achieved using MS SQL Express (free)


  1. Requires basic SQL server knowledge by IT department or user
  2. Data transfer requires standard database backup/restore