Simon Willison’s Weblog


5 items tagged “parquet”


Overture Maps Foundation Releases Its First World-Wide Open Map Dataset. The Overture Maps Foundation is a collaboration lead by Amazon, Meta, Microsoft and TomTom dedicated to producing “reliable, easy-to-use, and interoperable open map data”.

Yesterday they put out their first release and it’s pretty astonishing: four different layers of geodata, covering Places of Interest (shops, restaurants, attractions etc), administrative boundaries, building outlines and transportation networks.

The data is available as Parquet. I just downloaded the 8GB places dataset and can confirm that it contains 59 million listings from around the world—I filtered to just places in my local town and a spot check showed that recently opened businesses (last 12 months) were present and the details all looked accurate.

The places data is licensed under “Community Data License Agreement – Permissive” which looks like the only restriction is that you have to include that license when you further share the data. # 27th July 2023, 4:45 pm

Weeknotes: Parquet in Datasette Lite, various talks, more LLM hacking

I’ve fallen a bit behind on my weeknotes. Here’s a catchup for the last few weeks.

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DuckDB-Wasm: Efficient Analytical SQL in the Browser (via) First SQLite, now DuckDB: options for running database engines in the browser using WebAssembly keep on growing. DuckDB means browsers now have a fast, intuitive mechanism for querying Parquet files too. This also supports the same HTTP Range header trick as the SQLite demo from a while back, meaning it can query large databases loaded over HTTP without downloading the whole file. # 29th October 2021, 3:25 pm

Querying Parquet using DuckDB (via) DuckDB is a relatively new SQLite-style database (released as an embeddable library) with a focus on analytical queries. This tutorial really made the benefits click for me: it ships with support for the Parquet columnar data format, and you can use it to execute SQL queries directly against Parquet files—e.g. “SELECT COUNT(*) FROM ’taxi_2019_04.parquet’”. Performance against large files is fantastic, and the whole thing can be installed just using “pip install duckdb”. I wonder if faceting-style group/count queries (pretty expensive with regular RDBMSs) could be sped up with this? # 25th June 2021, 10:40 pm


Query Parquet files in SQLite. Colin Dellow built a SQLite virtual table extension that lets you query Parquet files directly using SQL. Parquet is interesting because it’s a columnar format that dramatically reduces the space needed to store tables with lots of duplicate column data—most CSV files, for example. Colin reports being able to shrink a 1291 MB CSV file from the Canadian census to an equivalent Parquet file weighing just 42MB (3% of the original)—then running a complex query against the data in just 60ms. I’d love to see someone get this extension working with Datasette. # 24th June 2018, 7:44 pm