I'm starting a project that will be done entirely through Python, except perhaps at the end for visualisation. So far I've been doing it with ArcGIS and arcpy, but we'd like to move it to an open source platform.

I've been searching and haven't been able to find out how exactly QGIS fits in with GDAL/OGR (and other open source projects like GRASS). It seems that QGIS includes GDAL/OGR but has lots of its own additions. I'm trying to figure out what's the easiest route to perform a lot of simple, high-level operations.

At the moment what I'm doing with arcpy is converting between rasters and points, extracting raster values into existing points, extracting tables and geometry to NumPy, hydrology, finding intersections and nearest distance between features. There is only one operation that I imagine would have to be reworked quite extensively (inserting points every x metres along a set of vectors).

My question

Is the Python interface of QGIS sufficient to handle this, or is there an advantage in using GDAL/OGR and other packages? I'd like it to be as simple and readable as possible, as lots of other people will be using it and modifying it when we're finished.

  • 1
    As per the Tour (which I note you have not yet taken) there should be only one question asked per question and many of these seem too broad for focussed Q&A, even in their own right.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 9:48
  • I've edited the question to make the question more concise, I hope it fits the guidelines now.
    – carderne
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 9:59
  • It is a better fit now, so I'll re-open it, but it still seems to be asking for opinions, which will often result in close votes.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 10:23

1 Answer 1


QGIS contains the standard Processing plugin which contains hundreds of in-built algorithms from a number of open source softwares such as GRASS, GDAL/OGR, SAGA etc.

Using the Python Console in QGIS allows users to not only write pure python but also call the available algorithms from the Processing plugin and specify the required parameters without the need to rewrite all the logic.

I guess the main advantage of QGIS in your case is that it integrates many tools from other GIS providers and should be able to handle most of the things you mentioned.

  • @anoilman - Most welcome but this is merely a personal opinion as I only really used QGIS but not the others as standalone :)
    – Joseph
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 14:16

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