GeoPackage is the modern alternative to formats like SDTS and Shapefile. Its SQLite-based format efficiently stores and transfers geographic vector features and image tiles.
GeoPackage is the modern alternative to formats like SDTS and Shapefile. At its core, GeoPackage is simply a SQLite database schema. If you know SQLite, you are close to knowing GeoPackage. Install Spatialite – the premiere spatial extention to SQLite – and you get all the performance of a spatial database along with the convenience of a file-based data set that can be emailed, shared on a USB drive or burned to a DVD.
GeoPackage was carefully designed this way to facilitate widespread adoption and use of a single simple file format by both commercial and open-source software applications — on enterprise production platforms as well as mobile hand-held devices. GeoPackage is a standard from the Open Geospatial Consortium. It was designed and prototyped following a multi-year, open process of requirements testing and public input. It is designed for extension. So if you need more than the core GeoPackage feature set, join OGC's open process to standardize community-tested enhancements.
Q How are GeoPackage files shared between apps on iOS and Android devices?
A OGC does not yet have a methodology or best practice for sharing files between apps on mobile devices. On Android there are a couple of different options. With some of the newer updates, Android has some interesting security constraints. There could be a nice solution using the ContentProvider API.
On the iPhone, the security issues of the device cause a lot of problems for cross-app file sharing. Inherently, the device does not want applications to share data except in very narrowly defined ways. So data sharing between apps is not feasible at this time.
Q What were the reasons to go with SQLite, when OGC has invested heavily in PostGIS?
A I wouldn't say OGC has invested in PostGIS. PostGIS implements OGC standards, but OGC as an organization hasn't put any time or effort into PostGIS. To us it's just like any other RDBMS implementation of the Simple Features spec. The primary use case for designing GeoPackage was mobile device use, and that's why SQLite was chosen as a platform. In this case OGC as an organization IS investing in a technology. This is unusual for us and we did not make the decision lightly, but practicality and ease of implementation won out over standards purity. And I'm happy to say we have yet to get any negative feedback on this decision -- probably because SQLite is considered more like a library than a standalone application.