Probably the most referenced article on this website is the Geodatabase post I did a while back. Those of us using QGIS for day to day work run into File based geodatabases all the time. It’s on my list to open a personal geodatabase at some point when I run into one in the wild.
So when QGIS 2.4 came out something happened and I didn’t really notice it at first. I could open ESRI’s File Based Geodatabases on my linux workstation. I jump back and forth between windows and Linux – although I’m mostly in Linux these days. I didn’t notice because I had enabled FGDB support in QGIS for windows and I had been using that OS for quite a bit of work.
When I teach the QGIS class one of the things I try to hammer home is the “multi dimensional” nature of QGIS. You have GDAL, GRASS, Python, Spatialite, etc that plays a role in this software. So something good that happens in one migrates into QGIS.
When GDAL 1.11 came out it had this very nice feature: the OpenFileGeodatabase format/driver. With this by you could:
- Can read ArcGIS 9.X Geodatabases, and not only 10 or above.
- Can open layers with any spatial reference system.
- Thread-safe (i.e. datasources can be processed in parallel).
- Uses the VSI Virtual File API, enabling the user to read a Geodatabase in a ZIP file or stored on a HTTP server.
- Faster on databases with a big number of fields.
- Does not depend on a third-party library.
- Robust against corrupted Geodatabase files.
Two draw back:
- Cannot use spatial indexes.
Since GDAL can read file based geodatabases by default now – you can read them in QGIS. Of course you can’t edit – and that’s probably the second most asked question in the classes. I’ve never been a fan of editing ESRI’S FGDB because I worry it opens up the chance of corruption. If you have to – you can still enable ESRI’S FGDB support and edit away
So how do you read FGDBs in QGIS? Make sure you have 2.4 QGIS installed.
1. Click Add Vector Data in QGIS.
2. Select the Directory radiobutton. Select the type….
3. Select your file based geodatabase and click open.
Once you have the data open you can export to shapefile, postgis, spatialite. Like I said it doesn’t help with those editing – but it is a great enhancement to QGIS/GDAL. Right now it doesn’t support Raster stored in FGDB – but that might change shortly.