First published on NZ Techonverse
In the NZ Rail Maps project, I have preferred in recent years to replace shapefiles with databased formats. When using file based dbms (vs client-server) SQlite stands out as a viable alternative that is extremely well supported with an impeccable reputation. There are a number of SQlite based formats of data for GIS layers. Geopackage and Spatialite are probably the leading ones. Geopackage has the support of the Open Geospatial Consortium and produces smaller files. There are however in current editions of Qgis a number of problems in the Gpkg implementation that have forced a switch to Spatialite. It may be possible to switch back to Gpkg later when Qgis’s issues have been resolved.