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I want to automate the creation of boundary polygons from vector files. This is not footprint or extent creation (I already have scripts to do this). I want to create a tool similar to the QGIS, Image Boundary plugin which creates a single polygon which describes only the areas which have data. It should work on points/lines and polygons. For the points/lines, I guess it would need to create a buffer and then use that in generating a multipart boundary polygon (so it won't be exact but based on the buffer you set).

The purpose to use the output in a metadata catalogue where when you click on a location you only see a list of all files which have data in that spot and not just that the extent/footprint is within.

I found a tool from a post here that claims to do this but it is circa 2008 and isn't python based-

An opensource QGIS/GDAL solution would be ideal but arcpy is fine as well.

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It isn't the Convex Hull (Minimum Convex Polygon) the tool you need? It is available in QGIS in the "vector" menu.

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Kind of but I don't mind gaps being created within a threshold. I don't see this being possible in any Min Convex polygon tools. – GeorgeC Aug 15 '12 at 5:45

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