This is confusing, and a question I've harvested from a duplicate, so let me start with my setup.

  • OS: Windows 7 x64
  • GIS Client 1: ArcGIS Desktop 10.5
  • GIS Client 2: ArcGIS Pro 1.4
  • GIS Client 3: Boundless Desktop 1.0 (QGIS 2.14)


Many of the scripts I write, I try to keep open-source for those without a fancy ArcGIS license. However, I can't set PyQGIS as my default system interpreter in my environment variables because it will break many of the tools in ArcMap. So I have taken the approach of making ArcGIS's Python instance the system Python, and installing open-source libraries there (and using .pth files to pull in qgis.core functionality if I need it). I am using Gohlke's precompiled GDAL wheel (32-bit) in this case. I am operating under the assumption that this breaks the fewest amount of things.


I have multiple installs of GDAL, and the system seems to keep defaulting to one of them, ignoring any environment variables I set.

C:\Program Files\GDAL contains version 2.1.0 (64-bit).

C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.5\Lib\site-packages\osgeo contains version 2.1.3 (32-bit).

C:\Program Files\GDAL appears nowhere in my user environment variables.

Instead, I have the variables:

GDAL_DATA pointing to C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.5\Lib\site-packages\osgeo\data\gdal

and a variable called

GDAL_DRIVER_PATH pointing to C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.5\Lib\site-packages\osgeo.

C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.5\Lib\site-packages\osgeo is in my PATH.

Yet, when I open a command prompt and type ogrinfo --version it does not give me 2.1.3 (the version in PATH) but rather 2.1.0 (the 64-bit version in \Program Files\GDAL, which is nowhere in PATH).

What gives?

Answers that do not answer my question

How to force QGIS to use GDAL version?

Unable to call GDAL functionalities from Python

How to add support for FileGDB (Esri file gdb API) driver in fiona?

GDAL version in QGIS

Does Gohlke GDAL break Command-Line GDAL/OGR in Windoiws?

  • hmm, have you tried uninstalling then reinstalling arc? i have had very funky things happen to my environmental python variables when I downloaded gdal in the same folder as arcgis python – ziggy May 11 '17 at 16:23
  • Type set inside the command line window. Apart from the PATH value, look also for PYTHONPATH and PYTHONHOME. If you use the OSGEO4W shell, kit sets its own environment variables. Not sure if Boundless does the same. – AndreJ May 23 '18 at 13:35
  • Do you have separate administrator and user accounts? – RutgerH May 23 '18 at 13:43
  • workaround : give the full path of your gdal apps when launching from python subprocess.call or os.system – radouxju Jul 30 '18 at 7:06
  • I would do the installs in a virtual environment such as with anaconda. – Aaron Jul 30 '20 at 21:15

Boundless Desktop contains its own version of GDAL/OGR and has its own command shell to execute commands. The conflict exists with ArcGIS.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.