Having tried Project -> Export DXF as well as right clicking my vector layer and using the save by dxf feature I have found that the contours do not show in AutoCAD to be elevated from 0

I have checked the attributes of the contours vector layer and find and attribute set containing ID,ELEV and going further I have tried the command:

ogr2ogr -f "DXF" contours-out.dxf contours.shp -zfield ELEV

which I have run successfully although I found that I had to download some version of gdal tools and add the path to my system to the various gdal subfolders I am finding that still the contours do not elevate from 0 and all are still drawn to a 0 elevation in AutoCAD.

  • I also received at some point an error in my console about the creation of an additional attribute ID which is not supported reported by the ogr2ogr command.

Is there a way to export contours to DXF with elevations?

Before I posted this question I read: Exporting QGIS contour attributes in DXF file? and a few others like it.

  • Have you confirmed that the "ELEV" field is correct by looking at the attribute table?
    – Scro
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 9:44

1 Answer 1


If your original data set is in 2D then you have to add -dim 3. Try this command:

ogr2ogr -dim 3 -zfield ELEV -f DXF contours-out.dxf contours.shp

The warning about attribute creation is no problem, DXF files cannot store attributes in a GIS way.

You can use ogrinfo to check the dimension of the output entities, e.g:

ogrinfo -al contours-out.dxf

Be careful using LibreCAD to view DXF, it is restricted to 2D!

  • It didn't work for me. ogrinfo is listing all zero elevations for the AcDbPolylines. I used the defaulted attribute name ELEV when I created contrours in qGIS. The attribute box was checked during that process. My OS is Windows 10.
    – Eae
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 7:59
  • 1
    I tried it on linux successfully. Are you using gdal 1.8 or newer? -zfield available from gdal 1.8 (gdalinfo --version from the command line).
    – Zoltan
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 8:10
  • I had to use this build on OS X to get that working... It uses GDAL 1.1 they say on the webpage.
    – Eae
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 9:48

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