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Fiona is OGR's neater API

Project description

Fiona is OGR’s neater API – sleek on the outside, indomitable power on the inside.

Fiona provides a minimal, uncomplicated Python interface to the open source GIS community’s most trusted geodata access library and integrates readily with other Python GIS packages such as pyproj, Rtree, and Shapely.

How minimal? Fiona can read feature records as mappings from shapefiles or other GIS vector formats and write mappings as records to files using the same formats. That’s all. There aren’t any feature or geometry classes. Records and their geometries are just data.

For more details, see:


Fiona requires Python 2.6+ and libgdal 1.3.2+. To build from a source distribution or repository clone you will need a C compiler and GDAL and Python development headers and libraries. There are no binary distributions or Windows support at this time.


Assuming you’re using a virtualenv (if not, skip to the 4th command) and GDAL/OGR libraries, headers, and gdal-config program are installed to well known locations on your system (via your system’s package manager), installation is this simple:

$ mkdir fiona_env
$ virtualenv fiona_env
$ source fiona_env/bin/activate
(fiona_env)$ pip install Fiona

If gdal-config is not available or if GDAL/OGR headers and libs aren’t installed to a well known location, you must set include dirs, library dirs, and libraries options via the setup.cfg file or setup command line as shown below (using git):

(fiona_env)$ git clone git://
(fiona_env)$ cd Fiona
(fiona_env)$ python build_ext -I/path/to/gdal/include -L/path/to/gdal/lib -lgdal install


Collections are much like file objects. Records are mappings modeled on the GeoJSON format and if you want to do anything fancy with them you will probably need Shapely or something like it:

from fiona import collection

# Open a source of features
with collection("docs/data/test_uk.shp", "r") as source:

    # Define a schema for the feature sink
    schema = source.schema.copy()
    schema['geometry'] = 'Point'

    # Open a new sink for features, using the same format driver
    # and coordinate reference system as the source.
    with collection(
            "test_write.shp", "w",
            driver=source.driver, schema=schema,
            ) as sink:

        # Process only the features intersecting a box
        for f in source.filter(bbox=(-5.0, 55.0, 0.0, 60.0)):

            # Get point on the boundary of the feature
            f['geometry'] = {
                'type': 'Point',
                'coordinates': f['geometry']['coordinates'][0][0] }

            # Stage feature for writing

    # The sink shapefile is written to disk when its ``with`` block ends

Development and testing

Building from the source requires Cython. Tests require Nose. If the GDAL/OGR libraries, headers, and gdal-config program are installed to well known locations on your system (via your system’s package manager), you can do this:

(fiona_env)$ git clone git://
(fiona_env)$ cd Fiona
(fiona_env)$ ./cypsrc
(fiona_env)$ python develop
(fiona_env)$ python nosetests

If you have a non-standard environment, you’ll need to specify the include and lib dirs and GDAL library on the command line:

(fiona_env)$ python build_ext -I/path/to/gdal/include -L/path/to/gdal/lib -lgdal develop
(fiona_env)$ python nosetests


Fiona is written by:

With contributions by:

Fiona would not be possible without the great work of Frank Warmerdam and other GDAL/OGR developers.

Some portions of this work were supported by a grant (for Pleiades) from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities (

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