I am trying to work in R with the NYC 3D building models, specifically http://maps.nyc.gov/download/3dmodel/DA_WISE_Multipatch.zip. This is the package I use:

> library(sf)
Linking to GEOS 3.9.1, GDAL 3.2.1, PROJ 7.2.1; sf_use_s2() is TRUE

The GDAL docs say this:

The OpenFileGDB driver provides read access to vector layers of File Geodatabases (.gdb directories) created by ArcGIS 9 and above. The dataset name must be the directory/folder name, and it must end with the .gdb extension.

It can also read directly zipped .gdb directories (with .gdb.zip extension), provided they contain a .gdb directory at their first level.

A specific .gdbtable file (including “system” tables) can also be opened directly.

So it seems to be straightforward but I have been unsuccessful loading it into R using the SF package. I've tried loading the zip file with the directory in it and also a gdbtable file within the directory.

> model <- sf::st_read("DA_Wise_multipatch.zip")
Error: Cannot open "DA_WISE_Multipatch.zip"; The source could be corrupt or not supported. See `st_drivers()` for a list of supported formats.

How do I import this?

1 Answer 1


The multipatch.zip file contains a number of gdb directories. I solved the problem by extracting each of the gdb directories and then ZIPping each directory into it's own file. So the directory inside DA_WISE_multipatch.zip named


I extracted and re-compressed to a file named


which sf is happy to load.

lower_man <- sf::st_read("DA12_3D_Buildings_Multipatch.gdb.zip")
Reading layer `Buildings_3D_Multipatch' from data source 
  using driver `OpenFileGDB'
Simple feature collection with 24041 features and 3 fields
Geometry type: MULTIPOLYGON
Dimension:     XYZ
Bounding box:  xmin: 978979.2 ymin: 194479.1 xmax: 1002760 ymax: 220148.7
z_range:       zmin: -39.0159 zmax: 1797.107
Projected CRS: NAD83 / New York Long Island (ftUS)

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