Import FileGDB (Esri File Geodatabase)

The Esri File Geodatabase (FileGDB) is a file-based database for vector and raster data. It can be identified as folder with the suffix .gdb. For example, myDatabase.gdb

It is a file-based database with support for many GIS data types such as points, lines, polygons, 3D geometry (multipatch), raster and more. It is the recommended way to exchange GIS data between Esri applications such as CityEngine and ArcGIS Pro.

Import settings

The FileGDB import has the following options:


Press Browse to open a dialog and browse to the .gdb directory you want to import.

Layer Listing

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

  • Layer: Name of the Layer. The checkbox will decide if the layer is actually imported.
  • Alias: Additional name to reference the data; it is often the more commonly known name.
  • Type: If the layer is a feature class, its geometry type will be displayed. Else, the layer type will be displayed.See below for a list.
  • Count: If a feature class or a table, the number of rows will be displayed.
  • Readable?: A layer is readable (= importable), if it is a feature class with non-zero row count and has a supported coordinate system. If you hover the mouse pointer over the Layer error sign, a tooltip will tell you the reason for the layer not being 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 via 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 sign, and will not be imported.


If a FileGDB is imported into a new scene without any coordinate system yet, the scene will inherit the coordinate system of the first imported layer. All following layers with differing coordinate systems will be 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 settings

Run Generate Bridges Tool after Import

If enabled, the Generate Bridges Tool is executed on a following wizard page.

Run Simplify Graph Tool after Import

If enabled, the Simplify Graph Tool is executed on a following wizard page.

Run Graph Cleanup Tool after Import

Depending on the FileGDB data it may be necessary to cleanup the graph segments after import. If enabled, the graph cleanup tool is executed on a following wizard page.

Create Street/Intersection Shapes from Graph

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

Create Block/Lot Shapes from Graph

If enabled, the shape creation parameter of potentially created street blocks will be enabled and shapes are created.

Feature attribute settings

Import and map attributes

  • If enabled, all non-geometry attributes of a feature will also be imported.
  • This mapping controls the width of the street shapes generated from the graph center lines. In the default behaviour, 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.

Advanced users can edit the default mapping code by changing the cga code in the file gdb.ceattr, located in /ce.lib/rules/.

Import database scheme and relationships

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


Each object attribute will keep information about its FileGDB data type (including "Domain") and original related table. This information can be used in the FileGDB exporter to recreate feature classes, relationship classes and tables.

Import textures

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

Use selection query and spatial envelope

If the option is 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, their alias and datatype.


A list with all layer fields can be obtained by hovering the mouse over the layer name. Use these names to build a 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.

Working with FileGDB object attributes

  • Attributes of features are imported along with the feature itself. After a successful import, these attributes appear in the Inspector in 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 as displayed in the Inspector. The shape inspector will display 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 will control the generation of models. See also object attributes.