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I would like to use geopandas to work on a large dataset which is provided in Esri's file geodatabase format. I would like to be able to read and write this dataset, unfortunately there are still important difficulties which remain with fiona being able to read FileGDB format. Here is proof:

I could of course convert everything in the FileGDB to shapefiles, but shapefiles have important limitations when compared with feature classes.

I am looking for a file format which supports the following:

  • Read/writeable by geopandas
  • Which can handle large datasets containing 10's of millions of records
  • Not subject to shapefile limitations
  • Easily convertible to and from an Esri FileGDB

Anyone know of an alternative?

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Yer Geopackages are an SQLite based spatial database and are much more capable than shapefiles.

Have a read here about how to use them with geopandas and fiona https://stackoverflow.com/questions/56165069/can-geopandas-get-a-geopackages-or-other-vector-file-all-layers

Converting to ESRI FileGDB will probably need to be done using ArcPy (or ESRI based python libraries) as its proprietary tech. Arcpy will support Geopackages though, and there is a FeatureClass to FeatureClass conversion that will do the job with a Geopackage input.

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