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Any ESRI boffins (insiders) know when this will be available? 2010, 2011?

FINAL UPDATE now released 20th January 2011 - Can be downloaded here - (esri login required for legal/terms & conditions)

UPDATE:File Geodatabase API BETA in January 2011 >>

Slighty dated is: When will you open access to the file geodatabase (without using ESRI software)?

We have been working to answer user requests for a way to access and use the file geodatabase without using ArcObjects. With the release of ArcGIS 9.4 [Now ARCGIS 10] next year, we will provide an open API for the file geodatabase

When will you open access to the file geodatabase (without using ESRI software)?

News: Beta begins in January 2011 (see answers below).

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removed gis tag; it's "meta" for this site: – JasonBirch Aug 13 '10 at 23:03
an update without the ESRI spin (maybe)… – Mapperz Dec 14 '10 at 18:24
20 Jan 2011 -- it is released! But it is not going to be an Open API. ESRI is retaining control of the intellectual property. But that was to be expected. – V Stuart Foote Jan 20 '11 at 22:52
ESRI Developer's Conference Video – Roy Jul 16 '12 at 12:42
up vote 6 down vote accepted

OK Let's see here is an article on an ESRI blog saying January for the FGDB API. Have a look.


Now available here.

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Finally, but quite limited in Full Geodatabase capabilities - but a start. Only 4 years in the making... progress – Mapperz Dec 14 '10 at 18:27
Yeah atleast it can trace Relationship Classes, that was the big question mark I had. Topology and Network editing is not as big an issue for me as no way to specify how another application handles the business rules – CDBrown Dec 14 '10 at 23:55

I asked Esri support this a couple of weeks ago...the response was "The File Geodatabase Open API is currently in development. We expect to have it available before the end of the year. It is a C++ API that will allow read/write access to File Geodatabase data." So they're saying end of the year. I'd take that with a grain of salt. Probably a lot of grains of salt.

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I am guessing that this API would require an ArcEditor or ArcInfo license? – DavidF Aug 9 '10 at 16:15
@DavidF- No, not necessarily. The whole idea of an open API is that you don't need the any of the Esri stack to access data stored in a fGDB. Think of this API the same way you would think of accessing a shapefile outside of Esri software. – Derek Swingley Aug 10 '10 at 3:12
I asked ESRI directly, about a month ago, if access to the api would be free of license requirements, including a runtime variety, and was told that hadn't been decided yet. – matt wilkie Aug 11 '10 at 5:41
"While ESRI would ideally like to open the file geodatabase format in a manner similar to what we did for shapefiles when we released ArcView 2, geodatabases are complex and can be easily corrupted outside the ArcGIS environment." – Mapperz Aug 24 '10 at 17:48
In March of 2010 at the Dev Summit ESRI demo's this in a talk and said maybe end of the year, but would not commit to anything as far as a date. – Chad Cooper Oct 27 '10 at 20:36

I wouldn't hold my breath. They have been saying "really soon now" since 2007.

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+1 that was pretty much what they said at the UC this year – Zachary Aug 7 '10 at 2:38
Crazy...doesn't seem like it was four years ago that this was being advertised. – Derek Swingley Aug 7 '10 at 5:16

Well, fresh news is that the File Geodatabase API should see the light in January, in a beta release. See Inside Geodatabase: File Geodatabase API Details blog post.

The are some key limitations, though. If I were to name the most important ones, it would probably be that editing classes participating in relationships is not fully supported, as well as editing data in geometric networks. Also, support for rasters is not included at all in the first version.

Some of the limitations mentioned in the blog post are understandable, but still, I am very disappointed that after so many years of waiting, ESRI still can't get it quite right.

UPDATE: The C++ API is now available at ArcGIS Resource Center - File Geodatabase API.

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Derek Law at ESRI also announced availability to the ESRI forums with a link to same resource center File Geodatabase API stub as above.… – V Stuart Foote Jan 20 '11 at 22:27
Definitely strings attached to using the API--called a Beta and you're a registered licensee with restricted rights to distribute derivative applications that ESRI retains rights to. Much tighter control than the Jul 1998 "release" of the Shape File specification. But still it's progress. – V Stuart Foote Jan 20 '11 at 22:49

Here are some related entries in the ArcGIS Ideas site, which ESRI does seem to be paying attention to (I mean they pay attention to to the site, not so sure about individual ideas yet):

Vote early, vote often!

Oh heck, let's throw a couple of forum threads in here too for completeness sake:

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File Geodatabase API...

Lance Shipman from the Geodatabase team at ESRI is calling for Beta participants for the File Geodatabase API. call for Beta participants


Blockquote Originally Posted by Lance Shipman over on the Desktop - General forum View Post Thanks for your interest in the File Geodatabase API. The beta program for the File Geodatabase API is currently planned to begin by mid-January. We are compiling a list of sites who are interested in the Beta program, if you are interested, please send me an email ( with your contact information. We’ll be posting more information to the Geodatabase blog as we lead up to the Beta.

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Found a similar question on one of ERSI forums. Lance Shipman of ESRI posted, "We are currently planning to release the Windows version of the file geodatabase API by the end of the year. This will include API documentation and example code."

Count me among the skeptical.

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