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I have point shapefiles in 50,000 different folders (each shapefile file name is unique) - about 33,400 shapefiles (not all folders will have a point shapefile). I like to open the point shapefile in each of the folder into QGIS Desktop 2.2.0 map frame and then hopefully run a merge on them to get a single point shapefile layer. I tried drag-dropping from Windows Explorer to QGIS, and QGIS froze initially and continue to add the point shapefiles for several hours and didn't seem to stop. I found the Load Them All plugin ( that seem to specify the feature type and also specify a string filter, this plugin also didn't seem to work...

I was thinking that had I planned well, I could've automated and copied the point shapefiles into another single folder as soon as they were created and I could 've dragged-dropped into mapframe from this single folder. I don't know if this would've had worked. My analysis run took 18 days to run, so I don't want to re-run just to do that. I tried copy-pasting with Windows Explorer and it hung, may be because it was 100,000+ files...

Would you know any trick to do this?

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I recommend you use, though cannot direct how, Python!!! – mapBaker Aug 13 '14 at 21:27
Do the shape files, that are points, have a unique name? Like _pt.shp for example that distinguishes them from other shape files that aren't points? – SaultDon Aug 13 '14 at 22:29
Shapefiles are named: Poly1_Image1.shp, Poly2_Image1.shp, Poly3_Image1.shp, Poly4_Image4.shp, Poly5_Image5.shp. – Arun Govind Aug 13 '14 at 23:18
@ArunGovind What problem did you have with Load Them All? The plugin was actually built for this kind of scenarios. – gcarrillo Jan 28 at 21:40

2 Answers 2

I advise merging your shapefiles into a single folder (using a program or search/copy/paste or a small script such as the one Mark C recommends in the comments). Then use this rather elegant bit of code from

as above, use: ogr2ogr merge.shp file1.shp to create a shapefile merge containing the data of file1


 for %f in (*.shp) do ( 

 ogr2ogr -update -append merge.shp %f  -f “esri
 shapefile” -nln merge 

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That is really very elegant! – WhiteboxDev Aug 13 '14 at 22:12
It would be nice to bring the shapes into a single folder, but if he uses a GUI, there could be a problem when the files exceed 65536 or something like that. There are ~50,000 shape files to deal with in this case. It would be easier to recursively search each folder and test for its geometry type instead. – SaultDon Aug 13 '14 at 22:32
See HERE for a Dos Batch File to copy all the files into one common directory – Mark C Aug 14 '14 at 1:35
This is a good answer, @ArunGovind. And if it's germane, I additionally recommend reviewing the answers in this question if it's worthwhile to add a new field to preserve/distinguish which points originally belonged to each of your merged shapefiles. – elrobis Aug 14 '14 at 15:36

I got this to work. But thank you to everyone who answered and their awesome ideas! I'll explore each of them.

I used Global Mapper which has the option to search directories and its sub-directories for selected file types (File > Open all files in a directory tree). It took around 12 hours to load the shapefiles from 50,000 sub-folders and then I selected point or polygon layer and separately exported them as a new vector layer. The export took 15-30 minutes for each layer.

All points and polygons

Selected points and polygons zoomed in

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