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SpatialTau - The GeoPackage

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So there were few on the GeoPackage bandwagon earlier than me. As I wrote at the time on WeoGeo’s blog:
I have gotten a lot of feedback on my blog and twitter saying that an OGC format like GeoPackage is stupid, bloated, and destined for failure and that we should all continue what we are doing because the market will decide. To me that is just sticking your head in the sand. The market is searching for something besides SHP and GeoTIFF and is waiting for leadership. There is only one organization that can get this implemented across the world (well Google did a pretty good job with KML before that became an OGC format) and that’s the OGC. They are secretive, obfuscated, backwards and their website is a classic case of poor user interfaces. That said, I’m VERY hopeful for GeoPackage becoming a standard.
In 2012, this was my mental image of the GeoPackage
In 2012, this was my mental image of the GeoPackage
Of course by 2014 my mind changed. Esri wasn’t showing any interest in supporting the format. Regardless of its utility, being supported by QGIS and other open source tools is only 1/3 the battle. Unless Esri supports a format natively, it really isn’t going to go anywhere. Except, the GeoPackage is the format that forced Esri’s hand. ArcGIS Pro 2.6 adds native editing of GeoPackages:
GeoPackages have emerged in the last few years as a format used in mobile applications and as a standards compliance exchange format. We’re happy to share that data stored in GeoPackages is now fully editable within ArcGIS Pro 2.6, including undo and redo capabilities.
Well there you go, GeoPackages, while not supported natively in ArcGIS Desktop, should now be the go to format for all GIS data, stored locally in flat files and shared with others. Now there is still more support Esri needs to add to ArcGIS Pro to support more of the GeoPackage but this is the point where the GeoPackage can finally start to kill the Shapefile. There are still going to be reasons to stick with the Geodatabase when working with Esri for compatibility and ease of use, but if you were working with the Shapefile, I’d take this opportunity with ArcGIS Pro 2.6 to convert them all to the GeoPackage.
Hey look, a box!
Hey look, a box!
I think this is a great lesson for the community. It would have been easy to write off the GeoPackage and just let there be this schism between OGC formats and Esri formats, but both sides of that discussion realized that the real scourge (editor’s note: my iPad autocompleted scourge as scumbag, I think that works as well here) of data formats is the Shapefile. The sooner this DBF infused madness ends, the sooner data can start being whole again.
Someone asked me if I was happy being proved wrong. I don’t look at it that way. I was never saying the GeoPackage wasn’t a great idea, I mean read all my blog posts from late 2012/early 2013. Without Esri support, the format was really going nowhere. But Esri has smartly embraced the GeoPackage over the last few years and now with ArcGIS Pro 2.6, we can natively use it with out GIS software, no matter what platform you are on.
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James Fee
James Fee @jamesmfee

Spatial, workflows and technology

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