ESRI File Geodatabase (OpenFileGDB)

Driver short name


Driver built-in by default

This driver is built-in by default

The OpenFileGDB driver provides read, write and update access to vector layers of File Geodatabases (.gdb directories) created by ArcGIS 9 and above. The dataset name must be the directory/folder name, and it must end with the .gdb extension.

It can also read directly zipped .gdb directories (with extension), provided they contain a .gdb directory at their first level.

A specific .gdbtable file (including “system” tables) can also be opened directly.

Curve in geometries are supported with GDAL >= 2.2.

Write and update capabilities are supported since GDAL >= 3.6

Driver capabilities

Supports Create()

New in version GDAL: 3.6

Supports Georeferencing

This driver supports georeferencing

Supports VirtualIO

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

Spatial filtering

Since GDAL 3.2, the driver can use the native .spx spatial indices for spatial filtering.

In earlier versions, it uses the minimum bounding rectangle included at the beginning of the geometry blobs to speed up spatial filtering. By default, it also builds on the fly a in-memory spatial index during the first sequential read of a layer. Following spatial filtering operations on that layer will then benefit from that spatial index. The building of this in-memory spatial index can be disabled by setting the OPENFILEGDB_IN_MEMORY_SPI configuration option to NO.

SQL support

SQL statements are run through the OGR SQL engine. When attribute indexes (.atx files) exist, the driver will use them to speed up WHERE clauses or SetAttributeFilter() calls.

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 (only available in Geodatabases created with ArcGIS 10 or above)

The “CREATE INDEX idx_name ON layer_name(field_name)” SQL request can be used to create an attribute index. idx_name must have 16 characters or less, start with a letter and contain only alphanumeric characters or underscore.

The “RECOMPUTE EXTENT ON layer_name” SQL request can be used to trigger an update of the layer extent in layer metadata. This is useful when updating or deleting features that modify the general layer extent.

The “REPACK” or “REPACK layer_name” SQL requests can be used respectively to compact the whole database or a given layer. This is useful when doing editions (updates or feature deletions) that may leave holes in .gdbtable files. The REPACK command causes the .gdbtable to be rewritten without holes. Note that compaction does not involve extent recomputation.

Dataset open options

  • LIST_ALL_TABLES=YES/NO: This may be “YES” to force all tables, including system and internal tables (such as the GDB_* tables) to be listed (since GDAL 3.4)

Dataset Creation Options


Layer Creation Options

  • FEATURE_DATASET=string: 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=string: Set layer name alias.

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

  • GEOMETRY_NULLABLE=YES/NO: Whether the values of the geometry column can be NULL. Can be set to NO so that geometry is required. Default to “YES”

  • FID: Name of the OID column to create. Defaults to “OBJECTID”.

  • XYTOLERANCE, ZTOLERANCE, MTOLERANCE=value: These parameters control 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.

  • XORIGIN, YORIGIN, ZORIGIN, MORIGIN, XYSCALE, ZSCALE, ZORIGIN=value: 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

  • COLUMN_TYPES=string. A list of strings of format field_name=fgdb_filed_type (separated by comma) to force the FileGDB column type of fields to be created.

  • DOCUMENTATION=string. XML documentation for the layer.

  • CONFIGURATION_KEYWORD=DEFAULTS/MAX_FILE_SIZE_4GB/MAX_FILE_SIZE_256TB: Customize how data is stored. By default text in UTF-8 and data up to 1TB

  • CREATE_SHAPE_AREA_AND_LENGTH_FIELDS=YES/NO. Defaults to NO (through CreateLayer() API). 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.

Field domains

New in version 3.3.

Coded and range field domains are supported.


New in version 3.6.

Relationship retrieval, creation, deletion and updating is supported.

Hiearchical organization

New 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 driver implements transactions at the database level, through an emulation (as per RFC 54: Dataset transactions). This works by backing up the current state of the modified parts of a geodatabase after 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.

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

Comparison with the FileGDB driver

(Comparison done with a FileGDB driver using FileGDB API SDK 1.4)

Advantages of the OpenFileGDB driver:

  • Can read ArcGIS 9.X Geodatabases, and not only 10 or above.

  • Can open layers with any spatial reference system.

  • Thread-safe (i.e. datasources can be processed in parallel).

  • Uses the VSI Virtual File API, enabling the user to read a Geodatabase in a ZIP file or stored on a HTTP server.

  • Faster on databases with a big number of fields.

  • Does not depend on a third-party library.

  • Robust against corrupted Geodatabase files.

Drawbacks of the OpenFileGDB driver:

  • Cannot read data from compressed data in CDF format (Compressed Data Format).


  • Read layer from FileGDB and load into PostGIS:

    ogr2ogr -overwrite -f "PostgreSQL" PG:"host=myhost user=myuser dbname=mydb password=mypass" "C:\somefolder\BigFileGDB.gdb" "MyFeatureClass"
  • Get detailed info for FileGDB:

    ogrinfo -al "C:\somefolder\MyGDB.gdb"
  • Get detailed info for a zipped FileGDB:

    ogrinfo -al "C:\somefolder\"


Edition/write capabilities of the driver have been funded by the following organizations: Provincie Zuid-Holland, Provincie Gelderland and Gemeente Amsterdam.