I want to create empty GeoPackage layers with a defined schema. This seems to just work with Fiona regardless of whether I have spatial or non-spatial layers:

def create_blank_gpkg_layer(
    gpkg: Path, layer_name: str, crs: dict, schema: dict
) -> dict:
    Thin wrapper around fiona.open to create an empty layer in a geopackage
    If the geopackage doesn't exist it is created.
    Any existing geopackage or layer that shares the same names are overwritten
    gpkg.parent.mkdir(exist_ok=True, parents=True)
    with fiona.open(
    ) as new_layer:
        meta = new_layer.meta
        print(f"{layer_name} created in {gpkg}")
    return meta

wgs_crs = from_epsg(4326) 
poly_schema = {
    "properties": OrderedDict([("name":"str"),("code":"int")]),
    "geometry": "Polygon"
not_spatial_schema = {"properties": OrderedDict([("name":"str"),("code":"int")])}

create_blank_gpkg_layer(gpkg, layer_name=poly, crs=crs, schema=poly_schema)
create_blank_gpkg_layer(gpkg, layer_name=not_spatial, crs=crs, schema=not_spatial_schema)

This is fine, but I'd rather not have fiona as a dependency if the capability is already within QGIS - which is where the GeoPackages will end up, and I will have seperate code to configure symbology etc.

So I'd like to do the same using the PyQGIS QgsVectorFileWriter or whatever is most appropriate.

I've managed to make a workaround that creates a memory layer and then writes it, but I feel like there is probably a more 'idiomatic' way of solving this, as I then have to get the layer I've created in the GeoPackage (the one I actually want) and add it to the map.

# Layers that have a geometry
foo_layer = QgsVectorLayer("Point?crs=epsg:4326&field=name:string", "foo layer", "memory")
params={'INPUT': foo_layer, 'OPTIONS':'-update -nln foo','OUTPUT': '/tmp/temp_gpkg.gpkg'}
processing.run("gdal:convertformat", params)

# Layers with no geometry
bar_layer = QgsVectorLayer('None', 'bar', 'memory')
params={'INPUT': bar_layer,'OPTIONS':'-update -nln bar','OUTPUT': '/tmp/temp_gpkg.gpkg'}
processing.run("gdal:convertformat", params)
  • It takes less writing to do it with ogrinfo ogrinfo -sql "create table foo (attr1 text, attr2 int)" test.gpkg. But if your aim is to create a table with a geometry column then it gets more complicated.
    – user30184
    Commented Dec 2, 2021 at 19:03
  • Indeed, I could do it all in sql registering the geometry columns etc, but thought there might be another way.
    – RoperMaps
    Commented Dec 2, 2021 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


You can create a method like this:

def create_blank_gpkg_layer(gpkg_path: str, layer_name: str, geometry: int,
                            crs: str, schema: QgsFields, append: bool = False
                            ) -> bool:
    # To add a layer to an existing GPKG file, pass 'append' as True
    options = QgsVectorFileWriter.SaveVectorOptions()
    options.driverName = "GPKG"
    options.layerName = layer_name
    if append:
        options.actionOnExistingFile = QgsVectorFileWriter.CreateOrOverwriteLayer

    writer = QgsVectorFileWriter.create(
    del writer

    return True

And then use it in this way for spatial layers:

# Create a layer
gpkg_path = "/tmp/test.gpkg"
layer_name = "my_layer"
geom = QgsWkbTypes.PolygonZ
crs = 'epsg:4326'
schema = QgsFields()
schema.append(QgsField("double_field", QVariant.Double))
schema.append(QgsField("text_field", QVariant.String))

create_blank_gpkg_layer(gpkg_path, layer_name, geom, crs, schema)

Or in this way, for non-spatial layers:

# Create a table
layer_name = "my_table"
geom = QgsWkbTypes.NoGeometry
crs = ''
schema = QgsFields()
schema.append(QgsField("int_field", QVariant.Int))
schema.append(QgsField("bool_field", QVariant.Bool))

create_blank_gpkg_layer(gpkg_path, layer_name, geom, crs, schema, True)

Adapted from: https://github.com/qgis/QGIS/issues/37386

  • Excellent, that's much better. QgsWkbTypes.NoGeometry was the missing piece!
    – RoperMaps
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 9:18

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