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How do you incorporate support for ESRI's fgdb format into GDAL / ogr2ogr on Mac OS X 10.8?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Well, self, I'm glad you asked (hopefully you won't have to spend a whole day figuring this out next time).


  1. Download the ESRI File Geodatabase API Library (requires account)
  2. Move the resultant FileGDB_API folder to /usr/local/
  3. Copy all the files from (or symlink for cleaner in/uninstall)
    • /usr/local/FileGDB_API/include/ ---> /usr/local/include
    • /usr/local/FileGDB_API/lib/ ---> /usr/local/lib
  4. Run brew install gdal --enable-unsupported
    • brew requires the invaluable homebrew package manager to be installed
    • I personally had to add --without-python to avoid issues with python support (numpy install issues)

Now, you should be able to, for example, convert fgdb files to better, more open formats by running

/usr/local/bin/ogr2ogr -f "GeoJSON" output_file.json input_file_gdb_folder

Why You Have to Manually Add FGDB Support

Support for ESRI's fgdb format can't be built into GDAL by default as it is a non-open source library. However, it can be added. Hence, the machinations above.


I found a few, disparate articles that really helped me put this all together into a cohesive piece

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Having done this so many different ways, I would say that Homebrew is the way to go :) – Ragi Yaser Burhum Dec 10 '12 at 19:19

This did not work for me for OS X 10.11. Glad I found this:

The gist of it:

  1. brew tap osgeo/osgeo4mac
  2. Download FileGDB API for and place it in Homebrew Cache Directory
  3. brew install gdal-filegdb
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