intake_parquet provides quick and easy access to tabular data stored in the Apache Parquet binary, columnar format.


To use this plugin for intake, install with the following command:

conda install -c conda-forge intake-parquet



After installation, the function intake.open_parquet will become available. This can be used to open any parquet data-set. For example, assuming the part 'mydata.parquet' contains parquet data in one or more files, the following will load it into an in-memory pandas dataframe:

import intake
source = intake.open_parquet('mydata.parquet')
dataframe = source.read()

Arguments to open_parquet:

  • urlpath : the location of the data. This can be a single file, a list of specific files,

or a directory containing parquet files (normally containing a _metadata index file). The URLs can be local files or, if using a protocol specifier such as 's3://', a remote file location.

  • storage_options : other parameters that are to be passed to the file-system

implementation, in the case that a remote file-system is referenced in urlpath. For specifics, see the dask documentation.

  • columns : Of the possible set of columns stored in the data, only those specified

will be read; other data are not accessed at all. If not specified, loads all columns.

  • index : Set the given column as the index of the resultant data-frame. If not given,

a default index may be set, if the information is available in the metadata of the data-set; or no index if not. Can be set to False to prevent setting an index.

  • filters : A list of filters to consider excluding the loading of some of the partitions

of the data. For example, if there is a column called 'value', a filter like ('value', '>', 5), then partitions which contain no values matching the filter will not be loaded, but partitions containing at least one value which passes the filter will be loaded.

  • engine : ‘fastparquet’ or ‘pyarrow’. Which backend to read with.

  • gather_statistics : bool or None (default). Gather the statistics for each dataset partition. By default, this will only be done if the _metadata file is available. Otherwise, statistics will only be gathered if True, because the footer of every file will be parsed (which is very slow on some systems).

  • see dd.read_parquet() for the other named parameters that can be passed through.

A source so defined will provide the usual methods such as discover and read_partition.

Creating Catalog Entries

To include in a catalog, entries must specify driver: parquet. The further arguments are exactly the same as for open_parquet. Commonly, the choice of which columns to load can be left to the end-user, by including it as a parameter.

Using a Catalog

Assuming a catalog file called cat.yaml, containing a parquet source pdata, one could load it into a dataframe as follows:

import intake
cat = intake.open_catalog('cat.yaml')
df = cat.pdata.read()

Parquet data-sets are inherently partitioned, and the partitions can be accessed in random order or iterated over.

Parquet data also plays well with Dask parallel processing, so the method to_dask() can be considered. Importantly, sub-selecting from the columns of the Dask data-frame will prevent unnecessary loading of the non-required columns even in the case where columns selection has not been included in the catalog entry user parameters.


Parquet data-sets can be singular, lists of files, or whole directory trees. The first two can be cached using the standard “files” type cache, but the latter requires “dir” type cachimg to capture the whole structure. An example may look like:

  - type: dir
    regex: '{{ CATALOG_DIR }}/split'
    argkey: urlpath
    depth: 4

Where the extra depth parameter indicates the number of directory levels that should be scanned.