17.1. Converter Basics

Converters and SimpleFeatureTypes are defined as HOCON files. GeoMesa uses the TypeSafe Config library to load the configuration files. In effect, this means that converters should be defined in a file called application.conf and placed at the root of the classpath. In the GeoMesa tools distribution, the files can be placed in the conf folder. See Standard Behavior for more information on how TypeSafe loads files.

17.1.1. Defining SimpleFeatureTypes

In GeoTools, a SimpleFeatureType defines the schema for your data. It is similar to defining a SQL database table, as it consists of strongly-typed, ordered, named attributes (columns). The converter library supports SimpleFeatureTypes defined in HOCON. SimpleFeatureTypes should be written as objects under the path geomesa.sfts.

The name for the SimpleFeatureType will be the name of the HOCON element (e.g. ‘example’, below), or it can be overridden with type-name.

A SimpleFeatureType definition consists of an attributes array, and an optional user-data section.

attributes is an array of column definitions, each of which must include a name and a type. See GeoTools Feature Types for supported types. See Reserved Words for names that aren’t supported. Any additional keys beyond those two will be set as user data, and can be used to configure various attribute-level options.

The user-data element consists of key-value pairs that will be set in the user data for the SimpleFeatureType. This can be used to configure various schema-level options.

See Index Configuration for details on the configuration options available.


geomesa = {
  sfts = {
    example = {
      type-name = "example"
      attributes = [
        { name = "name", type = "String", index = true }
        { name = "age", type = "Integer" }
        { name = "dtg", type = "Date", default = true }
        { name = "geom", type = "Point", default = true, srid = 4326 }
      user-data = {
        option.one = "value"

This example is equivalent to the following specification string:


17.1.2. Defining Converters

A converter defines the mapping between source data (CSV, JSON, XML, etc) and a SimpleFeatureType. The converter accepts as input source files, and outputs GeoTools SimpleFeatures, which can then be written to GeoMesa. Thus, each converter corresponds to a single SimpleFeatureType, although there may be multiple converters for each SimpleFeatureType. The converter library supports converters defined in HOCON. Converters should be written as objects under the path geomesa.converters.

Converters are generally defined with a type and a fields array. Optionally, they may define an id-field, user-data and configuration options.

The type element specifies the type of the converter, for example ‘delimited-text’ or ‘json’. Specific converters will have additional options that are not covered here. See GeoMesa Convert for more information on the types available.

The fields array defines the attributes created by the converter. Each field consists of a name and an optional transform. Specific converters support additional field options; see the documentation on each converter type for details.

If the name of a field corresponds with the name of a SimpleFeatureType attribute, then it will be set as that attribute when converting to SimpleFeatures. Intermediate fields may be defined in order to build up complex attributes, and can be referenced by name in other fields.

The transform of a field can be used to reference other fields or modify the raw value extracted from the source data. Other fields can be referenced by name using $ notation; for example, $age references the field named ‘age’. Transforms can also include function calls. GeoMesa includes a variety of useful transform functions, and supports loading custom functions from the classpath. See Transformation Function Overview for details.

The id-field element will set the feature ID for the SimpleFeature. It accepts any values that would normally be in a field transform, so it can reference other fields and call transform functions. A common pattern is to use a hash of the entire input record for the id-field; that way the feature ID is consistent if the same data is ingested multiple times. If the id-field is omitted, GeoMesa will generate random UUIDs for each feature.

The user-data element supports arbitrary key-value pairs that will be set in the user data for each SimpleFeature. For example, it could be used to specify feature-level Accumulo Visibilities.

The options element supports parsing and validation behavior. See Parsing and Validation for details.