I have many large gpkg.zip files that I would like to read directly into Python (to then upload to BigQuery). I can unzip each, read with geopandas, then upload -- however, since unzipping triples the space the file takes up, it starts to really clog up my computer's relatively small hard drive.

Is there a way to read a compressed file in directly?

  • 3
    Looked at stackoverflow.com/questions/26574407/… and seems not possible. Why don't you do sequentially, unzip file1, read file1, upload file1 content and delete unzipped file? Storage required on your computer = same size as all your zip + 3 times the size or your current zip.
    – ThomasG77
    Mar 12, 2021 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


You can use the GDAL /vsizip system.

I have this geopackage with one layer:

$ ogrinfo ottawa.gpkg 
INFO: Open of `ottawa.gpkg'
      using driver `GPKG' successful.
1: ottawa (Multi Polygon)

And I can create a zip file containing just it:

$ zip ottawa.gpkg.zip ottawa.gpkg 
  adding: ottawa.gpkg (deflated 38%)

And its nice and smaller than the source:

$ ls -sh ottawa.gpkg*
872K ottawa.gpkg  544K ottawa.gpkg.zip

Then I can access that file with /vsizip with the zip file name and the name of the file in the zip file:

$ ogrinfo /vsizip/ottawa.gpkg.zip/ottawa.gpkg 
INFO: Open of `/vsizip/ottawa.gpkg.zip/ottawa.gpkg'
      using driver `GPKG' successful.
1: ottawa (Multi Polygon)

The downside is this will be slower.

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