I have a MultiPolygon with 2 relatively simple polygons in it: http://microflush.org/json/MultiPolygon.json

I've pulled out the 2 polygons from the above MultiPolygon below, just to make sure they both exist (same url above, but different json):


Any/all of the 3 above can be copied/pasted into a GeoJSON tester to view them: http://geojsonlint.com/

I've stored the original MultiPolygon in PostgreSQL as below:

$ ogr2ogr -f "PostgreSQL" PG:"dbname=weatherzones user=postgres" "MultiPolygon.json" -nln polys

Here's how it looks in Postgres after the import:

polytest=# \d polys;
                                       Table "public.polys"
    Column    |          Type           |                        Modifiers                        
 ogc_fid      | integer                 | not null default nextval('polys_ogc_fid_seq'::regclass)
 wkb_geometry | geometry(Geometry,4326) | 
 warnings     | character varying       | 
    "polys_pk" PRIMARY KEY, btree (ogc_fid)
    "polys_geom_idx" gist (wkb_geometry)

When I try to query postgres using single points which lie in the lower polygon, I do not get rows returned. However, when I query using points which lie in the upper polygon, I get the row returned.


This point lies in the lower polygon, and this query returns no rows:

select warnings from polys 
where ST_Intersects(ST_PointFromText('POINT( -116.024551 38.485773 )', 4326), wkb_geometry); 

This next point lies in the upper polygon, and this query returns a row, which is the MultiPolygon:

select warnings from polys 
where ST_Intersects(ST_PointFromText('POINT( -114.879913 39.249129 )', 4326), wkb_geometry); 

Is there something wrong with my query, the way I imported the data, or perhaps the original MultiPolygon which can explain why a query with a point from the lower polygon won't return the MultiPolygon row? I've done this with other MultiPolygons and have not had an issue like this.

1 Answer 1


Your MultiPolygon is invalid. You can test it with ogrinfo:

ogrinfo -ro -dialect sqlite -sql "select IsValid(geometry) from
OGRGeoJSON" multipolygon.json
INFO: Open of `multipolygon.json'
      using driver `GeoJSON' successful.
GEOS warning: Self-intersection at or near point -115.907104 39.162109000000001

Layer name: SELECT
Geometry: None
Feature Count: 1
Layer SRS WKT:
isvalid(geometry): Integer (0.0)
  isvalid(geometry) (Integer) = 0

You can try to correct it in PostGIS with ST_MakeValid http://postgis.net/docs/ST_MakeValid.html. However, it is not simple

Step 1 Correct the faulty geometry:

create table valid as select st_makevalid(geometry) as geometry from multipolygon;

Step 2 Test:

select * from valid where ST_Intersects(ST_PointFromText('POINT( -116.024551 38.485773 )',4326), geometry); 

Result: error

ERROR:  Relate Operation called with a LWGEOMCOLLECTION type.  This is unsupported.
HINT:  Change argument 2: 'GEOMETRYCOLLECTION(POLYGON((-115.000793 38.677307,-115.000793 38.499878,-115....'

Pity that ST_Intersects does not handle geometrycollections. So you must get rid of the collection. First part of the collection is the polygon so you can take just that.

Step 3 Keep just the polygon part

update valid set geometry=ST_GeometryN(geometry,1);

Step 4 Test again

select * from valid where ST_Intersects(ST_PointFromText('POINT( -116.024551 38.485773 )',4326), geometry);

Result: Success!

  • Thanks for the info! I think that was the problem. I couldn't get the 'ogrinfo' command to return results, but I did get a similar result directly in postgres: select count(*) from polys where not ST_IsValid(wkb_geometry);
    – Joseph
    Sep 15, 2015 at 13:08
  • Also, FYI, the ST_MakeValid didn't fix. After performing that function, I still get the same errors. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction though. At least I now know what the problem is!
    – Joseph
    Sep 15, 2015 at 19:05
  • It does fix the geometry but does not make your query to work. This is a rather complicated problem. I would contact microflush.org and ask if they could start delivering topologically correct data. See my edited answer.
    – user30184
    Sep 16, 2015 at 10:57
  • Hello, and thanks again for the help! microflush.org is just a storage location. If I try the ST_MakeValid, it chops off most of the polygon or it combines sections of the MultiPolygon in an interesting way. But I think I'm on the right track. Something else I'm curious about. Here's another sample poly: microflush.org/json/akPoly.json It is in Alaska. If I use geojsonlint.com to validate, it zooms into a tiny island of the poly. When I try to select points to get rows, ONLY those on that island match/return true. What could cause the issue? Thanks!
    – Joseph
    Sep 21, 2015 at 14:48
  • The fault in this geometry is Hole lies outside shell. You should learn to use use the PostGIS ST_IsValidReason function postgis.net/docs/ST_IsValidReason.html. I believe that geojsonlint only checks that json is valid but it does not care about the validity of geometries.
    – user30184
    Sep 21, 2015 at 17:06

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