Esri's file geodatabase API can now be used with GDAL/OGR - Link however each individual seems to have to login to Esri and download the API files individually. For example this is referenced in a blog post here and in the GDAL build notes.

The license agreement before downloading the API shown by Esri is at: http://resources.arcgis.com/node/agreement/3193

Clause 47 states:

  1. Licensee may develop and distribute software or web applications that use the Esri File Geodatabase API to Licensee's end users.

The best discussion about the license is at Paul Ramsey's blog post from January 2011. This finishes with a final update that:

Update 4: Received email from Esri confirming that the final license will be reviewed to ensure there are no ambiguities and that it reflects their intent that the API be usable by any application in any application category and the derived product freely redistributable and royalty free. So to the extent that the current license has any ambiguity it shouldn't be considered a red flag that the final one will.

So has or when will the Esri API be available as part of GDAL downloads or installations, and when can we distribute application which include the API?

1 Answer 1


Having written the FileGDB GDAL driver, I am glad you like it :)

The answer is that yes, it can be distributed. In fact, the OSGeo4W distribution already includes it.

I got the confirmation that the OSGeo4W was an approved usage through a personal e-mail exchange I had with ESRI.

  • +1 Can the file gdb API also be used in the context of a web service? Jan 11, 2012 at 4:42
  • Thanks for the answer and great work! So you need individual approval from ESRI for redistribution? Jan 11, 2012 at 8:21
  • 1
    For the OSGeo4W case, I wanted to have it up asap so people could use it. So I e-mailed people at ESRI directly and the e-mail thread trickled to the right person. However, as far as I understand, they are revising the legal wording so it is more clear. The intention was for people to use it and include it. However, it is clear that the legal wording says otherwise. Sort of shows how things work in a large corporation :) It is a matter of time before it gets revised and updated appropriately. Jan 11, 2012 at 18:03
  • @KirkKuykendall AFAIK from the e-mail thread I had, the intention is 'yes'. Nevertheless, the best course of action for non-osgeo4w usages is to post the question in the forum. Jan 11, 2012 at 18:05
  • I just downloaded the setup exe and installed it. After running 'ogr2ogr --formats', I do not see FGDB support listed.
    – user714157
    Jan 22, 2013 at 22:17

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