I have

  • GeoPandas 0.2.1 py27_0
  • fiona 1.7.0 np110py27_1
  • Python 2.7.10

installed in Anaconda 2-4.1.1-Windows-x86 environment. I am able to construct GeoDataFrame by reading input datasets and operate the data yet saving an output dataset does not preserve the coordinate system.

import geopandas as gpd
world = gpd.read_file(gpd.datasets.get_path('naturalearth_lowres'))
world.to_file(driver='ESRI Shapefile',filename=r'C:\GIS\Temp\world_out.shp')

The world_out.shp does contain the features and the schema of the source shapefile, but coordinate system is undefined (<Unknown>). The world_out.prj file is 0 KB and doesn't contain anything.

out = gpd.read_file(r'C:\GIS\Temp\world_out.shp')
print out.crs
>>> {}

I have tested to perform this operation using pure Fiona and it works fine, preserving the crs information:

import fiona

datasrc_path = r'C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.4\TemplateData\TemplateData.gdb'

with fiona.drivers():
    with fiona.open(datasrc_path,layer='cities') as source:
        meta = source.meta
        meta['driver'] = 'ESRI Shapefile'
        meta['layer'] = source.name

        with fiona.open(r'C:\GIS\CitiesFiona.shp', 'w', **meta) as sink:
            for f in source:

The CitiesFiona.prj file does contain the information about the coordinate system.

So, it seems as GeoPandas is not able to read/write crs of the data frame into the output dataset when calling the to_file() method. I have tried calling to_file() on GeoDataFrames constructed from various sources and datasets and the coordinate system information was never present in the output dataset.

Has anyone run into this issue before? Can anyone test this?


1 Answer 1


I have come across this behavior before.

You need to explicitly pass the well known text (crs_wkt) string to the to_file() method. The string will then get passed to fiona.open(), which writes out the .prj file.

Using your sample code, doing something like this:

ws = r"D:\temp_se"
prj_file = gpd.datasets.get_path('naturalearth_lowres').replace(".shp",".prj")
prj = [l.strip() for l in open(prj_file,'r')][0]
world = gpd.read_file(gpd.datasets.get_path('naturalearth_lowres'))
temp_shp = os.path.join(ws,"world_out.shp")
world.to_file(filename=temp_shp,driver='ESRI Shapefile',crs_wkt=prj)

should produce: enter image description here

The read_file() and to_file() functions simply serve as wrapper functions. They call fiona.open(), whose signature is shown below:

enter image description here

You need to explicitly pass a crs_wkt value when reading/writing files with geopandas.

  • 1
    Thanks for posting this. Surprisingly enough, I cannot reproduce the issue any longer. When running the code I posted above, I do get the .prj file with the info about the crs. It could be because I've upgraded fiona to fiona 1.7.0 np110py27_2. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 15:41
  • Unfortunately there's still the issue in newer versions. I have geopandas 0.4.1 and fiona 1.8.4.
    – Vaiaro
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 11:01

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