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I am interested in writing C# class libraries that can read/modify file geodatabases.

The issue I have with the File Geodatabase API from ESRI is that this is for commercial use, and I don't want to pay licensing fees. So I'd rather write something myself. Has anyone written documentation regarding the makeup of these files, similar to how there's documentation on the different types of shapefiles from ESRI?

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OGR has an option to use the OpenFileGDB driver based on reverse engineering of the FGDB Spec. The spec itself is CC-BY-SA.

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    Today, the OpenFileGDB driver cannot modify a file geodatabase. Hopefully, in the future, it will allow write access. – klewis May 21 '14 at 16:59
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This is exactly why the File Geodatabase API was created. Both the 1.3 and the soon to be released 1.4 builds support a C# wrapper. You need to re-read the terms of the license agreement, which is royalty-free. There is no documentation on the FGDB binary implementation, so you should expect to devote a man-year to reverse-engineering a format subject to change before you complete work.

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