(Geo)Arrow IPC File Format / Stream

Added in version 3.5.

Driver short name


Build dependencies

Apache Arrow C++ library

The Arrow IPC File Format (Feather) is a portable file format for storing Arrow tables or data frames (from languages like Python or R) that utilizes the Arrow IPC format internally.

The driver supports the 2 variants of the format:

  • File or Random Access format, also known as Feather: for serializing a fixed number of record batches. Random access is required to read such files, but they can be generated using a streaming-only capable file. The recommended extension for such file is .arrow

  • Streaming IPC format: for sending an arbitrary length sequence of record batches. The format must generally be processed from start to end, and does not require random access. That format is not generally materialized as a file. If it is, the recommended extension is .arrows (with a trailing s). But the driver can support regular files as well as the /vsistdin/ and /vsistdout/ streaming files. On opening, it might difficult for the driver to detect that the content is specifically a Arrow IPC stream, especially if the extension is not .arrows, and the metadata section is large. Prefixing the filename with ARROW_IPC_STREAM: (e.g "ARROW_IPC_STREAM:/vsistdin/") will cause the driver to unconditionally open the file as a streaming IPC format. Alternatively, starting with GDAL 3.10, specifying the -if ARROW option to command line utilities accepting it, or ARROW as the only value of the papszAllowedDrivers of GDALOpenEx(), also forces the driver to recognize the passed filename.

This driver also supports geometry columns using the GeoArrow specification.


The driver should be considered experimental as the GeoArrow specification is not finalized yet.

Driver capabilities

Supports Create()

This driver supports the GDALDriver::Create() operation

Supports Georeferencing

This driver supports georeferencing

Supports VirtualIO

This driver supports virtual I/O operations (/vsimem/, etc.)

Creation issues

The driver supports creating only a single layer in a dataset.

Layer creation options

Layer creation options can be specified in command-line tools using the syntax -lco <NAME>=<VALUE> or by providing the appropriate arguments to GDALDatasetCreateLayer() (C) or Dataset.CreateLayer (Python). The following layer creation options are supported:

  • COMPRESSION=[NONE/ZSTD/LZ4]: Compression method. Available values depend on how the Arrow library was compiled. Defaults to LZ4 when available, otherwise NONE.

  • FORMAT=[FILE/STREAM]: Variant of the file format. See introduction paragraph for the difference between both. Defaults to FILE, unless the filename is "/vsistdout/" or its extension is ".arrows", in which case STREAM is used.

  • GEOMETRY_ENCODING=[GEOARROW/WKB/WKT/GEOARROW_INTERLEAVED]: Defaults to GEOARROW. Geometry encoding. As of GDAL 3.9, GEOARROW uses the GeoArrow "struct" based encodings (where points are modeled as a struct field with a x and y subfield, lines are modeled as a list of such points, etc.). The GEOARROW_INTERLEAVED option has been renamed in GDAL 3.9 from what was named GEOARROW in previous versions, and uses an encoding where points uses a FixedSizedList of (x,y), lines a variable-size list of such FixedSizedList of points, etc.

  • BATCH_SIZE=<integer>: Defaults to 65536. Maximum number of rows per record batch.

  • GEOMETRY_NAME=value: Defaults to geometry. Name of geometry column.

  • FID=value: Name of the FID (Feature Identifier) column to create. If none is specified, no FID column is created. Note that if using ogr2ogr with the Arrow driver as the target driver and a source layer that has a named FID column, this FID column name will be automatically used to set the FID layer creation option of the Arrow driver (unless -lco FID= is used to set an empty name)

Conda-forge package

The driver can be installed as a plugin for the libgdal conda-forge package with:

conda install -c conda-forge libgdal-arrow-parquet

Standalone plugin compilation

Added in version 3.10.

While this driver may be built as part of a whole GDAL build, either in libgdal itself, or as a plugin, it is also possible to only build this driver as a plugin, against an already built libgdal.

The version of the GDAL sources used to build the driver must match the version of the libgdal it is built against.

For example, from a "build_arrow" directory under the root of the GDAL source tree:

cmake -S ../ogr/ogrsf_frmts/parquet -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/path/to/GDAL_installation_prefix -DArrow_DIR=/path/to/lib/cmake/Arrow
cmake --build .

Note that such a plugin, when used against a libgdal not aware of it, will be systematically loaded at GDAL driver initialization time, and will not benefit from deferred plugin loading capabilities <rfc-96>. For that, libgdal itself must be built with the CMake variable OGR_REGISTER_DRIVER_ARROW_FOR_LATER_PLUGIN=ON set.