Esri Geodatabase (Personal Geodb) Reader

FME can retrieve data from Esri’s Geodatabase.

The Geodatabase format is a geospatial vector data format for geographic information system (GIS) software. Esri Personal Geodatabase files are stored in Microsoft Access files (.mdb) and may contain multiple layers (feature types) that can be read concurrently.

Format Notes: 64-bit Personal Geodb Reader

  • Microsoft Access Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) Runtime – Unlike many of the other Geodatabase formats supported by FME, which rely on ArcGIS applications being installed, this 64-bit Geodatabase MDB reader relies on the Microsoft Access Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) Runtime in order to read files. Users should notice improved reader performance compared to previous versions of the reader.
  • The previous 32-bit Personal Geodatabase Reader/Writer format in FME used a 32-bit Esri API and required an ArcGIS Desktop installation. The APIs for Personal Geodatabase are not supported on 64-bit platforms, and thus this version of the format differs from FME’s historical Personal Geodatabase format. (For more information, see the FME 32-bit Windows Sunsetting Plan.)
  • Most notably, this format does not currently support dataset writing. Additionally, some metadata is not currently supported (such as Annotations and Relationship Info, field domain resolution, and reading raster datasets).
  • The 32-bit format had some additional features that the new 64-bit version does not. This includes support for Text geometries; these were added by post-processing that the data format does not natively support. The Esri API performed these conversions transparently, so some datasets may not read in the same way.

Personal Geodb Product and System Requirements


FME Platform

Operating System


FME Form

FME Flow

FME Flow Hosted

Windows 64-bit











The Personal Geodatabase reader begins by opening the Geodatabase dataset that resides within a file system. Once opened, the Geodatabase reader queries the Geodatabase and passes the resulting features – that is, rows – to FME for processing. Every feature that is read is tagged with its original integer object ID (which is the object ID that Geodatabase assigns) under the attribute name personal_geodatabase_fid.

The Geodatabase reader translates several different types of features:

  • table-level metadata
  • reading of geometric features such as points, multipoints, polylines, and polygons
  • reading of non-spatial table data
  • reading of dimensions
  • reading of multipatch features

The Geodatabase reader also supports:

  • Attribute Queries: SQL WHERE clauses can be specified to limit the data being exported.
  • Spatial Queries: FME exploits the spatial query capabilities of Geodatabase using both search envelopes and search features with a multitude of filtering options. This allows greater control to translate only the relevant spatial data.
  • Non-Spatial Tables: FME can read any Geodatabase table, whether or not it contains spatial data. FME can also read regular RDBMS tables (such as those in Oracle).