I have 2 large shapefiles > 4 GB and 2 GB, is it possible using QGIS or ArcGIS to convert this to an ESRI Geodatabase so I can work with the data?

I have ArcGIS Advanced License 10.5.1 and QGIS 3.2.

I try adding them to ArcMap- right-click layer - Data - Export data, select file geodatabase as output but as far as I can see Arc doesn't support that file size for .shp files. So when I load them in, it doesn't load more than the 2 GB, which is also the only part that is converted to the Geodatabase. Hence I have a loss of data when converting that way.

  • 3
    as far as I can see Arc doesn't support that file size for .shp files , that's correct, the limit for any component file in a shapefile is 2 GB ~ desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/latest/manage-data/shapefiles/…
    – nmtoken
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 9:47
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    If you have a file with a .shp suffix that exceeds 2Gb, it isn't a valid shapefile, and isn't likely to be successfully transferred to another geodata format (you'll need to go back to the source)
    – Vince
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


The obvious suggestion is to split your shapefile with an external program.

  • Check if you have a data interopability licence, which basically translates 'FME'. It has the functionality that you want (plus you can translate it directly)

  • You can use OGR (bundled with a GDAL installation) to split your shapefiles. More info now you can do that, see how to Split SHP file using ogr2ogr

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