Documenting and cataloging Google BigQuery Data Warehouse

Applies to: Dataedo 24.x (current) versions, Article available also for: 10.x, 23.x

Catalog and documentation

Data Dictionary

Dataedo imports tables, external tables, views and their columns.

Data Dictionary

Stored procedures, user-defined functions

Stored procedures and user-defined functions will be imported with their parameters and code.

Descriptions, aliases and custom fields

When technical metadata is imported users will be able to edit descriptions of each object and element, provide meaningful aliases (titles) and document everyting with additional custom fields.

Import comments

When importing metadata from Google BigQuery, Dataedo reads table, view and column comments

Business Glossary

Users will be able to link a Business Glossary term to any Google BigQuery object.

ER Diagrams

Using manually created foreign keys Dataedo builds ER diagrams (ERDs) automatically, and allows you to create your own manually.

Data Profiling

Users will be able to run data profiling for a table, view or multiple datasets in the warehouse and then save selected data in the repository. This data will be available from Desktop and Web.

Lookups / Reference data

Users will be able to build Lookups for columns in Google BigQuery tables and views and feed them with distinct values from a column.

Data Classification

Users will be able to run classification on Google BigQuery database in the repository in serach of columns containing potentially sensitive data. All built in functions are supported.

Data Classification

Importing changes and schema change tracking

To import changes from Google BigQuery warehouse and update metadata in Dataedo simply use Import changes option. Changes in any Google BigQuery object will be imported and noted in Schema changes tab.

Description changes

Changes to descriptions in Dataedo Desktop and Web Catalog are tracked and saved in the repository.

Design and generate schema

You will be able to design new tables and columns for your Google BigQuery data warehouse.

Share in Web Catalog or export to HTML, PDF or Excel

Documentations can be exported by sharing it in web catalog or generating HTML, PDF or Excel.

Subject areas

Google BigQuery connector support Subject Areas.


Service Account

Dataedo connects to Google BigQuery with Service Account. If you don't have one, please read carefully following Google Cloud docs:

  1. Authentication
  2. Understanding service accounts

During creation (or modification) of service account you need to specify roles which will allow Dataedo to document BigQuery database. Dataedo reads INFORMATION_SCHEMA views to collect metadata, hence minimum permissions (roles) that the service account needs to have are:

  • BigQuery Metadadata Viewer - to read metadata,
  • BigQuery Job User - to run a query that reads meatadata.

Create service account

Service account key

To authenticate to Google BigQuery with service account, you need Service Account Key. To get one, you need to find Service Account resource, open Service Account that will be used to connect from Dataedo, go to Keys tab and click Add Key -> Create new Key button. Then select JSON format and download the key.

Create service account key

Cloud Resource Manager API

In order to document BigQuery database, Dataedo needs to access Cloud Resource Manager API which needs to be enabled first. Most likely this feature will be enabled, however if it is disabled, you can activate it by searching Cloud Resource Manager API in Google Marketplace and then clicking Enable button.

Connecting to Google BigQuery

To connect to Google BigQuery create new documentation by clicking Add documentation and choosing Database connection.

Add connection

On the Add documentation widnow choose Google BigQuery:

Google BigQuery Add docs

Provide database connection details:

  • Service Access Key - path to Service Account Key. You can open file explorer to browse for the file by clicking [...] button,
  • Project - select Google Cloud project under which your BigQuery database was created. You can expand list of available projects by clicking [...] button,
  • Dataset - select one or more datasets to document. You can expand list of datasets by clicking [...] button.

Google BigQuery connection details

Saving password

You can save password for later connections by checking Save password option. Password are saved in the repository database.

Importing schema

When connection was successful Dataedo will read objects and show a list of objects found. You can choose which objects to import. You can also use advanced filter to narrow down list of objects.

BigQuery objects

Confirm list of objects to import by clicking Next.

Next screen allow you to change default name of the documentation under which it will be visible in Dataedo repository.

BigQuery documentation title

Click Import to start the import.

BigQuery import progress

When done close import window with Finish button.

Your database schema has been imported to new documentation in the repository.

BigQuery documentation

Importing changes

To sync any changes in the schema in Google BigQuery and reimport any technical metadata simply choose Import changes option. You will be asked to connect to Google BigQuery again and changes will be synced from the source. Read more about importing schema changes.

Scheduling imports

You can also schedule metadata updates using command line files. Read more about scheduling imports.


Imported metadata

Dataedo reads following metadata from Google BigQuery databases.

Imported Editable
Tables, External tables
   Primitive columns
   Nested columns (Records)
   Repated columns
   Data types with length
   Column comments
  Table comments
  Foreign keys
  Primary keys
  Unique keys
   Primitive columns
   Nested columns (Records)
   Repated columns
   Data types with length
   Column comments
  View comments
Stored procedures
  Procedures comments
User-defined Functions
  Input arguments
  Output results
  Function comments
Shared metadata
  Created time
  Last updated time

Supported features

Feature Imported
Import comments
Write comments back
Data profiling
Reference data (import lookups)
Generating DDL
FK relationship tester


Dataedo reads comments from following Google BigQuery objects:

Object Read Write back
Table comments
  Column comments
View comments
Function comments
Stored procedures

Data profiling

To perform profiling, Dataedo queries tables hence service account used for import needs to have BigQuery Data Viewer role or other permissions that allows to execute SQL SELECT statements. Datedo supports following data profiling in Google BigQuery:

Profile Support
Table row count
Table sample data
Column distribution (unique, non-unique, null, empty values)
Min, max values
Standard deviation
Min-max span
Number of distinct values
Top 10/100/1000 values
10 random values

Read more about profiling in a Data Profliling documentation.

Known issues and limitations

Following schema elements currently are not supported:

  • Labels
  • Friendly names
  • Table partitions
  • Jobs
  • User-defined temp Function
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