When I run my script outside ArcGIS it works because during execution script uses a GDAL and OGR modules from osgeo. When I use script as a tool in ArcGIS it does not work. In PySripter I can import all modules and it work. In Python Window in ArcGIS I cannot import because I get this error:

Parsing error SyntaxError: invalid syntax (line 2) import ogr Runtime error Traceback (most recent call last): File "", line 1, in File "C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.1\lib\site-packages\osgeo\ogr.py", line 26, in _ogr = swig_import_helper() File "C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.1\lib\site-packages\osgeo\ogr.py", line 22, in swig_import_helper _mod = imp.load_module('_ogr', fp, pathname, description) ImportError: DLL load failed:

In the case when I import gdal in ArcGIS Python Window I do not get this error. How to force arcgis to import ogr and use it in ModelBuilder or Script?? I check a lot of solutions includin reinstallation, changing and adding environment variables. I checked :

  1. http://pythongisandstuff.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/installing-gdal-and-ogr-for-python-on-windows/
  2. http://www.wildsong.biz/index.php/Running_GDAL_scripts_in_ESRI_Model_Builder

and I still do not have a good solution. Any idea?

UPDATE: I also try use direct importing in my script: import imp ogr = imp.load_source('ogr', 'c:\Python27\Lib\site-packages\osgeo\ogr.py' and I get the same error. If I use this method in standalone script it works.

1 Answer 1


I've gotten this working on my 10.1 system, at least somewhat (I can run import ogr from the ArcGIS python window and it appears to be working).

First I attempted to get my system as clean as possible. I uninstalled previous versions of GDAL (from OSGeo4W). I do still have PostgreSQL+PostGIS which has it's own version of GDAL, but I can't uninstall that (I need it).

Secondly, it looks like ArcGIS's python is located at a different folder on my system (it's in C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.1\Python27\ArcGIS10.1, not C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.1). This is likely due to my 10.1 environment being a fresh install vs. an upgrade or something.

I used the GDAL installers from this page. Specifically:

I then setup the following environment variables:

  • PATH: Added ;C:\Program Files (x86)\GDAL to the end. This resolved the DLL load error for me.
  • GDAL_DRIVER_PATH: set to C:\Program Files (x86)\GDAL\gdalplugins (to get the FileGDB stuff to work)
  • GDAL_DATA: set to C:\Program Files (x86)\GDAL\gdal-data (to get reprojection and other projection related stuff working)

OGR in ArcGIS 10.1

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