ESRI File Geodatabase (FileGDB)

Driver short name


Build dependencies

FileGDB API library

The FileGDB driver provides read and write access to vector layers of File Geodatabases (.gdb directories) created by ArcGIS 10 and above. The dataset name must be the directory/folder name, and it must end with the .gdb extension.

Note : the OpenFileGDB driver driver exists as an alternative built-in (i.e. not depending on a third-party library) driver.

Driver capabilities

Supports Create()

This driver supports the GDALDriver::Create() operation

Supports Georeferencing

This driver supports georeferencing



Curve in geometries are supported on reading with GDAL >= 2.2.

Bulk feature loading

The FGDB_BULK_LOAD configuration option can be set to YES to speed-up feature insertion (or sometimes solve problems when inserting a lot of features (see The effect of this configuration option is to cause a write lock to be taken and a temporary disabling of the indexes. Those are restored when the datasource is closed or when a read operation is done.

Bulk load is enabled by default for newly created layers (unless otherwise specified).

SQL support

SQL statements are run through the SQL engine of the FileGDB SDK API. This holds for non-SELECT statements. However, due to partial/inaccurate support for SELECT statements in current FileGDB SDK API versions (v1.2), SELECT statements will be run by default by the OGR SQL engine. This can be changed by specifying the -dialect FileGDB option to ogrinfo or ogr2ogr.

Special SQL requests

"GetLayerDefinition a_layer_name" and "GetLayerMetadata a_layer_name" can be used as special SQL requests to get respectively the definition and metadata of a FileGDB table as XML content.

Starting with GDAL 3.5, the "REPACK" special SQL request can be issued to ask for database compaction.

Field domains

Added in version 3.3.

Retrieving coded and range field domains are supported. Writing support has been added in GDAL 3.5.


Added in version 3.6.

Relationship retrieval is supported.

Hiearchical organization

Added in version 3.4.

The hiearchical organization of tables and feature classes as top-level element or within a feature dataset can be explored using the methods GDALDataset::GetRootGroup(), GDALGroup::GetGroupNames(), GDALGroup::OpenGroup(), GDALGroup::GetVectorLayerNames() and GDALGroup::OpenVectorLayer()

Transaction support

The FileGDB driver implements transactions at the database level, through an emulation (as per RFC 54: Dataset transactions), since the FileGDB SDK itself does not offer it. This works by backing up the current state of a geodatabase when StartTransaction(force=TRUE) is called. If the transaction is committed, the backup copy is destroyed. If the transaction is rolled back, the backup copy is restored. So this might be costly when operating on huge geodatabases.

Starting with GDAL 2.1, on Linux/Unix, instead of a full backup copy only layers that are modified are backed up.

Note that this emulation has an unspecified behavior in case of concurrent updates (with different connections in the same or another process).

CreateFeature() support

The FileGDB SDK API does not allow to create a feature with a FID specified by the user. Starting with GDAL 2.1, the FileGDB driver implements a special FID remapping technique to enable the user to create features at the FID of their choice.

Dataset Creation Options


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:

  • FEATURE_DATASET=value: When this option is set, the new layer will be created inside the named FeatureDataset folder. If the folder does not already exist, it will be created.

  • LAYER_ALIAS=value: Set layer name alias.

  • GEOMETRY_NAME=value: Defaults to SHAPE. Set name of geometry column in new layer.

  • GEOMETRY_NULLABLE=value: Defaults to YES. Whether the values of the geometry column can be NULL. Can be set to NO so that geometry is required.

  • FID=value: Defaults to OBJECTID. Name of the OID column to create. Note: option was called OID_NAME in releases before GDAL 2

  • XYTOLERANCE=value: Defaults to 0.01. Controls (with ZTOLERANCE and MTOLERANCE) the snapping tolerance used for advanced ArcGIS features like network and topology rules. They won't effect any OGR operations, but they will by used by ArcGIS. The units of the parameters are the units of the coordinate reference system.

    ArcMap 10.0 and OGR defaults for XYTOLERANCE are 0.001m (or equivalent) for projected coordinate systems, and 0.000000008983153° for geographic coordinate systems. ArcMap 10.0 and OGR defaults for ZTOLERANCE and MTOLERANCE are 0.0001.

    ZTOLERANCE=value: Defaults to 0.0001.

    MTOLERANCE=value: (GDAL >= 3.5.1) Defaults to 0.0001.

  • XORIGIN, YORIGIN, ZORIGIN, MORIGIN, XYSCALE, ZSCALE, MSCALE: These parameters control the coordinate precision grid inside the file geodatabase. The dimensions of the grid are determined by the origin, and the scale. The origin defines the location of a reference grid point in space. The scale is the reciprocal of the resolution. So, to get a grid with an origin at 0 and a resolution of 0.001 on all axes, you would set all the origins to 0 and all the scales to 1000.

    Important: The domain specified by (xmin=XORIGIN, ymin=YORIGIN, xmax=(XORIGIN + 9E+15 / XYSCALE), ymax=(YORIGIN + 9E+15 / XYSCALE)) needs to encompass every possible coordinate value for the feature class. If features are added with coordinates that fall outside the domain, errors will occur in ArcGIS with spatial indexing, feature selection, and exporting data.

    ArcMap 10.0 and OGR defaults:

    • For geographic coordinate systems: XORIGIN=-400, YORIGIN=-400, XYSCALE=1000000000

    • For projected coordinate systems: XYSCALE=10000 for the default XYTOLERANCE of 0.001m. XORIGIN and YORIGIN change based on the coordinate system, but the OGR default of -2147483647 is suitable with the default XYSCALE for all coordinate systems.

    • ZORIGIN and MORIGIN: -100000

    • ZSCALE and MSCALE: 10000


    MORIGIN and MSCALE added in GDAL 3.5.1

  • XML_DEFINITION=value: When this option is set, its value will be used as the XML definition to create the new table. The root node of such a XML definition must be a <esri:DataElement> element conformant to FileGDBAPI.xsd

  • CREATE_MULTIPATCH=[YES/NO]: When this option is set, geometries of layers of type MultiPolygon will be written as MultiPatch


  • CREATE_SHAPE_AREA_AND_LENGTH_FIELDS=[YES/NO]: (GDAL >= 3.6.0) Defaults to NO. When this option is set, a Shape_Area and Shape_Length special fields will be created for polygonal layers (Shape_Length only for linear layers). These fields will automatically be populated with the feature's area or length whenever a new feature is added to the dataset or an existing feature is amended. When using ogr2ogr with a source layer that has Shape_Area/Shape_Length special fields, and this option is not explicitly specified, it will be automatically set, so that the resulting FileGeodatabase has those fields properly tagged.

Configuration options

Configuration options can be specified in command-line tools using the syntax --config <NAME>=<VALUE> or using functions such as CPLSetConfigOption() (C) or gdal.config_options (Python). The following configuration options are available:

  • FGDB_BULK_LOAD=[YES/NO]: Can be set to YES to speed-up feature insertion (or sometimes solve problems when inserting a lot of features (see The effect of this configuration option is to cause a write lock to be taken and a temporary disabling of the indexes. Those are restored when the datasource is closed or when a read operation is done. Bulk load is enabled by default for newly created layers (unless otherwise specified).

Geometry coordinate precision

Added in version GDAL: 3.9

The driver supports reading and writing the geometry coordinate precision, using the XYResolution, ZResolution and MResolution members of the OGRGeomCoordinatePrecision settings of the OGRGeomFieldDefn. XYScale is computed as 1.0 / XYResolution (and similarly for the Z and M components). The tolerance setting is computed as being one tenth of the resolution

On reading, the coordinate precision grid parameters are returned as format specific options of OGRGeomCoordinatePrecision with the FileGeodatabase format key, with the following option key names: XYScale, XYTolerance, XYOrigin, ZScale, ZTolerance, ZOrigin, MScale, MTolerance, MOrigin. On writing, they are also honored (they will have precedence over XYResolution, ZResolution and MResolution).

On layer creation, the XORIGIN, YORIGIN, ZORIGIN, MORIGIN, XYSCALE, ZSCALE, ZORIGIN, XYTOLERANCE, ZTOLERANCE, MTOLERANCE layer creation options will be used in priority over the settings of OGRGeomCoordinatePrecision.


  • The SDK is known to be unable to open layers with particular spatial reference systems. This might be the case if messages "FGDB: Error opening XXXXXXX. Skipping it (Invalid function arguments.)" when running ogrinfo --debug on the.gdb (reported as warning in GDAL 2.0). Using the OpenFileGDB driver will generally solve that issue.

  • FGDB coordinate snapping will cause geometries to be altered during writing. Use the origin and scale layer creation options to control the snapping behavior.

  • Reading data compressed in SDC format (Smart Data Compression) is not support by the driver, because it is not supported by the ESRI SDK.

  • Reading data compressed in CDF format (Compressed Data Format) requires ESRI SDK 1.4 or later.

  • Some applications create FileGeodatabases with non-spatial tables which are not present in the GDB_Items metadata table. These tables cannot be opened by the ESRI SDK, so GDAL will automatically fallback to the OpenFileGDB driver to read these tables. Accordingly they will be opened with the limitations of the OpenFileGDB driver (for instance, they will be read only).

  • The driver does not support 64-bit integers.