At 3.10.4 I tried to load a FGDB polygon feature class, but it failed, with an "Invalid Data Source" error. I tried the load with both the Vector > Directory > ESRI FileGDB and Vector > Directory > OpenFileGDB methods:

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It turns out that the FGDB had been previously compressed using the Arc Desktop Compress File Geodatabase Data tool. Fortunately I have access to Arc Desktop and was able to uncompress the FGDB using the Uncompress File Geodatabase Data tool.

Following the uncompress, QGIS successfully loaded the feature class.

This experience leads me to believe that QGIS cannot load compressed FGDBs. An internet search did not turn up anything.

Note that I'm not asking about FGDBs that have been zipped.

I am now curious; are there any open-source tools that will uncompress a FGDB? Or allow QGIS to load a compressed FGDB feature class?

2 Answers 2


To uncompress a file geodatabase with open-source tools, you can use the ogr2ogr utility from the GDAL library. This utility can be used to convert the file geodatabase (a proprietary format) to a different format, such as a shapefile or GeoJSON.

Here is an example of how to use ogr2ogr to uncompress a file geodatabase and convert it to a shapefile:

ogr2ogr -f "ESRI Shapefile" output.shp input.gdb

Files using Compressed data format (cdf) can be opened with the GDAL FileGDB driver. This driver requires software libraries from ESRI. Files packed with Smart Data Compression (SDC) cannot be uncompressed https://gdal.org/drivers/vector/filegdb.html#known-issues

Driver can't read data in SDC format (Smart Data Compression) because operation is not supported by the ESRI SDK.

Reading data compressed in CDF format (Compressed Data Format) requires ESRI SDK 1.4 or later.

The OpenFileGDB driver cannot open even CDF https://gdal.org/drivers/vector/openfilegdb.html#vector-openfilegdb

Drawbacks of the OpenFileGDB driver:

Cannot read data from compressed data in CDF format (Compressed Data Format).

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