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6. ESRI Personal Geodatabase

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ESRI Personal Geodatabase (MDB)

ESRI Personal Geodatabases are basically Microsoft Access files that contain spatial information. For more information see the ESRI description page.

File listing

Similar to other database formats, the mdb file consists of several tables. The geometry is held in a BLOB table column.

Data Access / Connection Method

Personal geodatabase access is available through OGR. See the OGR driver page for specific driver information. The driver is standard in any win32 build of GDAL/OGR version 1.3.2 or later. For Linux/Unix, MDBTools ODBC drivers can be used for this (with some difficulty).

OGR uses the names of spatial tables within the personal geodatabase (tables with a Shape column) as layers.

The CONNECTION parameter must include the mdb extension, and the DATA parameter should be the name of the spatial table (or OGR layer).

CONNECTIONTYPE ogr
CONNECTION "pgeodatabase.mdb"
DATA "layername" 

OGRINFO Examples

First you should make sure that your GDAL/OGR build contains the personal geodatabase "PGeo" driver, by using the '--formats' command:

>ogrinfo --formats
   Loaded OGR Format Drivers:
   ...
   -> "ODBC" (read/write)
   -> "PGeo" (readonly)
   -> "PostgreSQL" (read/write)
   ...

If you don't have the driver, you might want to try the FWTools or MS4W packages, which include the driver.

Once you have the PGeo driver you are ready to try an ogrinfo command on your database to get a list of spatial tables:

>ogrinfo test.mdb
   INFO: Open of `test.mdb'
   using driver `PGeo' successful.
   1: counties

Now use ogrinfo to get information on the structure of the spatial table:

>ogrinfo test.mdb counties -summary
   INFO: Open of `test.mdb'
   using driver `PGeo' successful.

   Layer name: counties
   Geometry: Unknown (any)
   Feature Count: 67
   Extent: (-87.634943, 24.543945) - (-80.031369, 31.000975)
   Layer SRS WKT:
   GEOGCS["GCS_WGS_1984",
      DATUM["WGS_1984",
      SPHEROID["WGS_1984",6378137.0,298.257223563]],
      PRIMEM["Greenwich",0.0],
      UNIT["Degree",0.0174532925199433]]
   OBJECTID_1: Integer (10.0)
   OBJECTID: Integer (10.0)
   NAME: String (32.0)
   STATE_NAME: String (25.0)
   STATE_FIPS: String (2.0)
   CNTY_FIPS: String (3.0)
   FIPS: String (5.0)
   ...

Note that you can also use an ODBC connection to access all of the tables in your geodatabase:

>ogrinfo ODBC:jeff/pass@testDSN counties -summary
   INFO: Open of `ODBC:jeff/pass@testDSN'
   using driver `ODBC' successful.

   1: counties
   2: counties_Shape_Index
   3: GDB_AnnoSymbols
   4: GDB_AttrRules
   5: GDB_CodedDomains
   6: GDB_DefaultValues
   7: GDB_Domains
   8: GDB_EdgeConnRules
   9: GDB_Extensions
   10: GDB_FeatureClasses
   11: GDB_FeatureDataset
   12: GDB_FieldInfo
   13: GDB_GeomColumns
   ...

Mapfile Example

LAYER
   NAME my_geodatabase
   TYPE POLYGON
   CONNECTIONTYPE ogr
   CONNECTION "test.mdb"
   DATA "counties"
   STATUS ON
   CLASS
     NAME "counties"
     STYLE
       COLOR 255 255 120
     END
   END
END
by Jeff McKenna last modified 2007-11-16 08:37
Contributors: Tyler Mitchell, Jeff McKenna

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