Import FileGDB (Esri File Geodatabase)

The Esri File Geodatabase (FileGDB) format is a file-based database for vector and raster data. It is identified by the suffix .gdb, for example, myDatabase.gdb.

It supports many GIS data types such as points, lines, polygons, 3D geometry (multipatch), raster, and so on. It is the recommended way to exchange GIS data between Esri applications such as CityEngine and ArcGIS Pro.

Import options

For FileGDB import, the following options are available:



Click Browse to open a dialog box and browse to the .gdb directory to import.

Layer Listing

If the file entry contains a valid .gdb extension, the upper part of the wizard page shows the layers available to import. These are the available columns in the FileGDB inspector:

  • Layer—The name of the layer. Check the check box to import the layer.
  • Alias—An additional name used to reference the data; it is often the more commonly known name.
  • Type—If the layer is a feature class, its geometry type is displayed. Otherwise, the layer type is displayed. A list of supported layer types is below.
  • Count—If a feature class or a table, the number of rows is displayed.
  • Readable—A layer is readable (can be imported) if it is a feature class with a non-zero row count and has a supported coordinate system. If you hover over the Layer error icon Layer error, a ToolTip describes why the layer is not readable.
  • CS Authority—Displays the coordinate system EPSG authority ID.
  • CS Description—Displays the coordinate system description.

The following layer types are supported:

  • Point
  • Polygon
  • Polyline
  • Multipatch (with textures)
  • Table (indirectly, if connected through relationship classes)
  • Relationship classes (indirectly)

Each FileGDB layer with geometry (also called a feature class) is imported as a separate CityEngine layer. Layer types that are not supported are marked with the Layer error icon Layer error and are not imported.


If FileGDB data is imported into a new scene without a coordinate system, the scene inherits the coordinate system of the first imported layer. Subsequent layers with differing coordinate systems are reprojected.

Ensure that the input feature classes use the same coordinate units in the planar and up directions. CityEngine does not support separate units for the planar and up directions.

Graph options

The following Graph option are available:


Run Generate Bridges Tool after Import

When enabled, the Generate Bridges tool is run on a subsequent wizard page.

Run Simplify Graph Tool after Import

When enabled, the Simplify Graph tool is run on a subsequent wizard page.

Run Graph Cleanup Tool after Import

Depending on the FileGDB data, it may be necessary to clean up the graph segments after import. When enabled, the Graph Cleanup tool is run on a subsequent wizard page.

Create Street/Intersection Shapes from Graph

When enabled, the shape creation parameter of the graph nodes and segments are enabled and street shapes are created.

Create Block/Lot Shapes from Graph

When enabled, the shape creation parameter of potentially created street blocks are enabled and shapes are created.

Feature attribute options

The following feature attribute options are available:


Import and map attributes

  • When enabled, all nongeometry attributes of a feature are also imported.
  • This mapping controls the width of the street shapes generated from the graph center lines. In the default behavior, the object attribute width is used to determine the resulting street width and defaults to 8 if no object attribute is found.


The function code can be edited after import in the inspector when selecting the imported layer.

The default mapping code can be edited by changing the CGA code in the gdb.ceattr file, in the /ce.lib/rules/ folder.

Import database scheme and relationships

When enabled, attributes from tables that are connected to a selected feature class by relationship classes are also imported and assigned to the imported shapes as object attributes.


Each object attribute keeps its FileGDB data type information (including domain) and original related table. This information can be used in the FileGDB exporter to re-create feature classes, relationship classes, and tables.

Import textures

If the feature class is of type Multipatch, its textures are also imported and assigned to the scene shapes. Each texture is extracted from the feature class and saved as a .jpg or .png file (in case of transparency). These new texture files are placed in a new data/[FileGDB name without extension]-data project folder.

Use selection query and spatial envelope

When enabled, an attribute selection query and envelope can be used to reduce the number of imported features from each selected feature class. The layer ToolTip lists the available field names, aliases, and data types.

Select * Where

To obtain a list with all layer fields, hover over the layer name. Use these names to build an SQL query for filtering the imported shapes, for example: SELECT * WHERE edits = 'yes'.

Selection Envelope

Set the size (width, height) and reference point (X-offset, Y-offset) of the selection envelope.

FileGDB object attributes

Consider the following when working with FileGDB object attributes:

  • Attributes of features are imported along with the feature. After a successful import, the attributes appear in the Inspector window on the Object Attributes tab.
  • Feature attributes imported through related tables are prefixed with the name of the related table followed by an underscore.
  • A set of imported shape attributes is displayed in the Inspector window. The shape inspector displays any array attributes resulting from importing related fields in italics, and you can select Edit Table from the drop-down menu.
  • Use Edit Table to edit array attributes of one or more shapes in one place.
  • Once a CGA rule file with matching attributes is assigned to this shape, the matching object attributes are connected to the rule file and control the generation of models. See Work with object attributes for more information.