Viewing and Inspecting Geodatabases

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated

FME Version

  • FME 2023.0


Let’s begin by taking a look at how FME handles data contained in an Esri geodatabase, in the attached geodatabase zipped (see Files section for download).

Let’s try opening feature classes in the Community Map geodatabase using the FME Data Inspector. It’s always good practice to inspect the source data before translating it in FME Workbench.


This video was recorded using FME 2016.0, the interface may be different but the concepts are the same.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Add reader in FME Data Inspector

Start the FME Data Inspector and choose "Open a Dataset" from the File menu.

For format, select either Esri Geodatabase (File Geodb Open API) or, if you have a licensed version of ArcGIS® Desktop installed, Esri Geodatabase (File Geodb).

For the dataset, navigate to and select the zipped Community Map geodatabase. It is not necessary to unzip the dataset as readers are able to handle a variety of archive and compressed files. To select zipped files, simply change the files of type filter in the file browser dialog.

Select the format and the dataset location in the Add Reader dialog. Readers can handle compressed and archived files.

To select specific tables to read, click on the Parameters button. Under “Table List” select one or more feature classes, such as FoodVendors or GarbageSchedule.

Notice how there are also many other parameters we can use to determine how FME reads a geodatabase, including a WHERE clause and whether or not to read network and relationship information.

Click OK to close the parameters dialogue window. Click OK again to start reading the data.

2. Inspect Features in FME Data Inspector
Once the dataset has opened in the FME Data Inspector, select one of the visualized features and look at the Feature Information window. Notice how FME represents the data and how it stores some vital information about its features. This includes coordinate system, attributes, geometry type, and a full listing of the coordinates for each feature. The Table View window displays the entire set of features as a spreadsheet-like table.


By default, the Feature Information pane is on the right hand side of the Data Inspector window while the Table View is at the bottom. Map tiles by Stamen Design, under CC-BY-3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under CC-BY-SA.


Data Attribution

The data used here originates from data made available by the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. It contains information licensed under the Open Government License - Vancouver.

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