Opening GDB files

Have a problem opening a .GDB file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what GDB files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .GDB file type?

The .gdb extension associates primarily with the Garmin MapSource Database File (GDB) file type and several versions of the GDB (V1, V2, and V3) file format. GDB is a private binary format developed by Garmin, a well-established top-tier developer and supplier of GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation solutions.

A .gdb file is a GPS database file with track, waypoint, route, and other relevant information, all stored in the MapSource GDB format. Often used to record tracks and routes, GDB files can be directly uploaded into a Garmin GPS device or converted into the GPX format for data exchange. The primary Garmin's tool to work with .gdb files is MapSource. The GDB format is also supported by other GPS-related software (e.g., GPSBabel, BaseCamp).

The .gdb extension is also conventionally used in association with the InterBase/Firebird Database (GDB) file type and format(-s). InterBase (IB) is the name a commercial RDBMS initially developed by Borland and forked into an open-source project (IB 6.5, to become Firebird, FB). Currently, IB is owned and developed by Embarcadero. Since the fork, IB and FB are not compatible, though both used the .gdb file type for their databases.

Current versions of both IB and FB both use different extensions (IB, .ib; and FB, .fdb) to denote incompatibility and circumvent the MS Windows system restore feature that slows down dramatically database operations with .gdb files. Since both IB and FB are often embedded in other software, .gdb, .ib, and .fdb database files can be found with various applications.

Lastly, the .gdb extension is besides notably used to label ArcGIS File Geodatabase (FGDB) directories. FGDB is based on using the host filesystem, and although FGDB is Esri's proprietary format, its API has been released and is now supported by several major open-source GIS projects.

A .gdb folder contains all files that constitute an FGDB database. Besides, FGDB directories contain one or more .gdb files inside; such .gdb files are also part of the FGDB format. To avoid incidental data corruption, special care should always be taken in performing all kinds of file operations on FGDB folders.

Software to open or convert GDB files

You can open GDB files with the following programs:
MapSource by Garmin Ltd. and its subsidiaries
ITN Converter
ITN Converter by Benichou Software

Popular formats