QGIS novice here. I have a shapefile for US census PUMA (public use microdata areas). One of the attributes in my shapefile is the metropolitan area of the PUMA. I want to combine PUMA's which are located in the same metropolitan area. To do this, I am using the dissolve command, and choosing the metropolitan area attribute as the dissolve field. For most of the United States, things work as expected, but there are a few areas in which there is weird behaviour. For example, instead of combining the Chicago pumas into a big polygon, QGIS redraws a Chicago polygon of slightly different size. See the following pictures to see what I mean:

screenshot 1 screenshot 2

Is this a QGIS bug, or is there something I am doing wrong? Is there anything I might try to fix this behaviour?

  • Are all the files in the same coordinate system? Aug 4, 2016 at 8:51
  • Yes the project is all in WGS84 / Pseudo Mercator. The only input shape file is the PUMA data from the census.
    – veryshuai
    Aug 4, 2016 at 8:59
  • @dof1985 points out below that I was actually using NAD83, ESPG: 4269 (as can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the images included in my question).
    – veryshuai
    Aug 4, 2016 at 11:06

1 Answer 1


I solved this problem by installing GRASS, importing the shapefile there, and running v.dissolve using the metropolitan area attribute. The dissolve worked flawlessly as expected.

  • It is very interesting, your problem there. I wonder what was the cause of it. BTW note that you are not in Pseudo Mercator - rather you were at NAD83, ESPG: 4269
    – dof1985
    Aug 4, 2016 at 10:56
  • Oh, yes, I reported that incorrectly. I'll add that as an edit above.
    – veryshuai
    Aug 4, 2016 at 11:05

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