I have a TIN model where I remove some of the triangles (see fig. 1). Most of the triangles touch on one edge, some on one vertice. I would now like to generate a polygon shapefile containing the remaining triangles, dissolved into one polygon (of multiple rings, see fig. 2).

Fig 1. - TIN with some triangles removed. Vertices of touching triangles are exactly identical, no sliver polygons.

Fig. 2 - Note, that this is only one polygon with a single line in the attribute table

Pictures were made by using the QGIS "Vector-->Geoprocessing Tools-->Dissolve" tool. Is this possible with the ogr python bindings? Here's what I've tried so far:

from osgeo import ogr

tri = ogr.Geometry(ogr.wkbLinearRing)
poly = ogr.Geometry(ogr.wkbPolygon)

tri2 = ogr.Geometry(ogr.wkbLinearRing)
poly2 = ogr.Geometry(ogr.wkbPolygon)

poly.Union(poly2) # returns None
poly.Intersect(poly2) # returns False
poly.Touches(poly2) # returns False (?)
poly.Disjoint(poly2) # returns False

I'm missing something like poly.Dissolve(), maybe used on a ogr.wkbGeometryCollection?

  • 1
    I guess you just forgot to close the second ring, in your case with tri2.CloseRings() , but the method you are looking for is ogr.Geometry.Union() as you tried in your code (or maybe UnionCascaded()). Anyway with second ring closed, your example work perfectly. In [3]: union_poly = poly.Union(poly2) In [4]: union_poly.ExportToWkt() Out[4]: 'POLYGON ((0 0 0,0 1 0,0 4 0,1 1 0,0 0 0))
    – mgc
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 17:40
  • Yup, that's it. Thanks. Would you mind posting as an answer, so I can accept it? (For reference: with a third triangle only connected on one vertice, this will create a MULTIPOLYGON (((0 0 0,0 1 0,0 2 0,1 1 0,0 0 0)),((1 1 0,2 2 0,2 0 0,1 1 0))))
    – LuWi
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


As asked by the OP, I put this in answer. The problem wasn't with the method used, as ogr.Geometry.Union() is the appropriate one but with the second polygon which was not closed.
It can be done with :
or by repeating the first point :
If there is many features to dissolve (like the entire layer) it can be done with UnionCascaded() which is supposed to provide significant time savings compared to an iterative union.

  • I can confirm the significantly lower runtime of UnionCascaded(). It also helps if you don't dissolve the polygons one-by-one, but rather in a binary tree fashion.
    – LuWi
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 12:38

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