Getting Started with GeoPackage

What is GeoPackage?

GeoPackage (.gpkg) is an open, non-proprietary, platform-independent, and standard data format for geographic information systems (GIS), as defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). It is designed to be a lightweight format that can contain large amounts of varied and complex data in a single, easy to distribute and ready to use file. GeoPackage is natively supported by numerous software applications.

Key features and benefits of GeoPackage

GeoPackage offers users the following key features and benefits:

  • The single file is easy to transfer and offers the end-user a rich experience.

  • Attribute names are not limited in length, making the format user-friendly.

  • The file size limit is very large at 140 TB, so lots of data can be easily accommodated (please note that a file size limit may be imposed by the file system to which the file is written).

  • It supports raster, vector and database formats, making it a highly versatile solution.

  • It is an OGC standard.

  • In most cases, it is a plug and play format.

  • Data will be supplied in British National Grid (ESPG:27700), World Geodetic System (WGS84: EPSG: 4326), or British National Grid + ODN Height (EPSG: 7405), depending on your selection when ordering OS NGD data.

Accessing GeoPackage data via GIS software

The following sub-sections provide step-by-step instructions on how to access GeoPackage data via various GIS software packages, all current versions of these support GeoPackages natively.

Converting / Loading a GeoPackage to other data formats

It is possible to use Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) tools to convert the data into different formats and to load into databases.

In the OS NGD GeoPackages, the column ordering is slightly different to those listed on the individual feature types pages, and therefore the OS NGD CSV files.

The first column is an additional fid attribute, which is an INTEGER NOT NULL column. This acts as a primary key and is a requirement of the OGC GeoPackage specification.

Additionally, the geometry column will always be the second column; however, the attribute, or its value, isn't usually visible in GIS software.

The remaining ordering of columns will match the attribute listings on the feature types pages.

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