Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

flatdata Build Status

Write-once, read-many, minimal overhead binary structured file format.

Flatdata is a library providing data structures for convenient creation, storage and access of packed memory-mappable structures with minimal overhead.

With flatdata, the user defines a schema of the data format using a very simple schema language that supports plain structs, vectors and multivectors. The schema is then used to generate builders and readers for serialization and deserialization of the data to an archive of files on disk.

The data is serialized in a portable way which allows zero-overhead random access to it by using memory mapped storage: the operating system facilities are used for loading, caching and paging of the data, and most important, accessing it as if it were in memory.

Why flatdata

Flatdata helps creating efficient read-only datasets:

  • Zero overhead random access
  • Support for bit and byte packing
  • Structuring data using a schema definition
  • Optimized for large read-only datasets
  • Portable, with support for multiple languages

Flatdata doesn't provide:

  • Backwards compatible schema evolution
  • Support for mutable datasets
  • Portable floating point serialization

For more details read why flatdata.

Using flatdata

Creating a schema

Define a flatdata archive:

namespace loc {
    struct Point {
        x : u32 : 32;
        y : u32 : 32;
    archive Locations {
        pois : vector< Point >;

The full schema documentation can be found here.

Generating a module

Flatdata relies on a generator that takes a flatdata schema file as an input and generates a module for one of the supported languages.

The following languages are supported:

  • First-class citizen implementations:
    • C++ - used extensively, tested excessively normally receives features first
    • Rust - the newest addition to the family
  • Read-only implementations:
    • Python - used mostly for inspecting the data
    • Dot - used to generate diagrams of the schema
    • Go - beta implementation

Generate code

See the generator's README for instructions.


Copyright (c) 2017-2020 HERE Europe B.V.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.


Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in this document by you, as defined in the Apache-2.0 license, without any additional terms or conditions.