I need some help with finding a way to list all the row counts for many tables (feature classes as well as non-spatial ones) in a file geodatabase. At the moment it's done manually by viewing the description tab in ArcCatalog and copying and pasting but I think there should be a way to bring out that information using arcpy. (EDIT, see further below: there is possibly also a way to do it via OGR in QGIS).

The file geodatabase structure is as follows:


I have gotten as far as doing this with a bit of help from here:

import arcpy
arcpy.env.workspace = my_geodb.gdb
oldws = arcpy.env.workspace               #saves this as main workspace

featureDatasets = arcpy.ListDatasets()    #lists all datasets in geodb
for fd in featureDatasets:
    arcpy.env.workspace = oldws + "\\" + fd
    featureClasses = arcpy.ListFeatureClasses()
    for fc in featureClasses:
        count = arcpy.GetCount_management(fc).getOutput(0)
    print fc, count

It's just getting the row counts from the metadata that I'm having problems with, my arcpy API knowledge is a bit inadequate for that. The above code works but it's really slow, and I was wondering how I can pull these row counts directly from the metadata since it's displayed there already in the ArcCatalog.

enter image description here

I'm finding this and this might help.


Trying to go with the way of ogr in qgis now. Referencing this.

Still need to work out the code to do so.

enter image description here

  • See if you can list the feature dataset names as your next step. If not, then I think that is where you are currently stuck and the question for you to research/ask should probably be that.
    – PolyGeo
    Aug 4, 2016 at 20:54
  • Cool, done with that.
    – weiji14
    Aug 4, 2016 at 21:03
  • Now list the feature classes in each feature dataset and use GetCount to count their rows.
    – PolyGeo
    Aug 4, 2016 at 21:05
  • I need the row counts for feature classes as well as non-spatial tables (updated the post to reflect that). But yes thank you for pointing out the track :)
    – weiji14
    Aug 4, 2016 at 21:12
  • Just a small correction, GetCount counts the rows whether your subject is table or feature class (which is simply a table with renderable feature in a field). As far as I know Object Count element is part of auto update trigger of ArcGIS metadata creation once you run any process on a feature class therefore, to you, extracting the row number from there is more plausible. I think the essence of your questions is having performance issues with GetCount function once apply to large datasets and alternative way of accessing this information (through metadata possibly).
    – fatih_dur
    Aug 5, 2016 at 1:09

1 Answer 1


Finally got the code working, referencing the OGR API.

import osgeo
from osgeo import ogr
geoDatabases = [r'\\path\to\mygeodb.gdb']         #insert list of geodatabases here

for geodb in geoDatabases:
    print "Row counting on", geodb.split('\\')[-1]
    ogdb= ogr.Open(geodb)                         #Opens filegdb using ogr driver

    noOfLyrs = ogdb.GetLayerCount()               #counts no. of feature classes in geodatabase
    for fcIdx in range(0, noOfLyrs):              #loop through feature classes
        fc = ogdb.GetLayer(fcIdx)                 #gets feature class
        print fc.GetName(), fc.GetFeatureCount()  #prints feature class name and feature count

Over 4 geodatabases with about 70 feature classes and a total of >170,000,000 rows, the arcpy script I posted in the question takes probably half an hour to run, whereas this 10-line script using ogr (ran in qgis) takes 20 seconds. So yes, I'm happy with this open source solution, though definitely interested in a pure arcpy/xml based method.

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