I am an absolute beginner with GIS data. I am attempting to write a tool to determine if a lat/long point resides within a polygon within a shapefile provided by SABS (https://nces.ed.gov/programs/sabs/). Basically, I am trying to write something that will tell me the primary school for a given address when internet is not available (no Google Maps, GreatSchools, etc.).

Anyway, I am using GeoTools with modified PointInPolygon code from https://github.com/ianturton/geotools-cookbook/blob/master/modules/filters/src/main/java/org/ianturton/cookbook/filters/PointInPolygon.java to search for lat/long points in polygons.

With that, I can see that there are lat/long points within the GeoTools suggested datafile (http://www.naturalearthdata.com/downloads/50m-cultural-vectors/). However, the SABS data does not report any points in polygons.

When I look at the polygon data for the two files, the points for the suggested data file are in the lat/long ranges I expect (+/-90, +/-180). The point data in the SABS file has values many magnitudes larger.

My guess is that the SABS data is in a projection that doesn't play well with querying if a point is inside the polygon. I don't know how to transform the data so that I can perform lat/long queries.

Can someone explain what I need to do to be able to perform a lat/long search with the SABS data?

SABS prj: PROJCS["USA_Contiguous_Albers_Equal_Area_Conic_USGS_version",GEOGCS["GCS_North_American_1983",DATUM["D_North_American_1983",SPHEROID["GRS_1980",6378137.0,298.257222101]],PRIMEM["Greenwich",0.0],UNIT["Degree",0.0174532925199433]],PROJECTION["Albers"],PARAMETER["False_Easting",0.0],PARAMETER["False_Northing",0.0],PARAMETER["Central_Meridian",-96.0],PARAMETER["Standard_Parallel_1",29.5],PARAMETER["Standard_Parallel_2",45.5],PARAMETER["Latitude_Of_Origin",23.0],UNIT["Meter",1.0]]

Natural Earth prj:


Code added to PointInPolygon to test data files:

for (double lat = -90.; lat < 90.; lat += 0.01) {
        for (double lon = -180; lon < 180; lon += 0.01) {
            final Point p = fac.createPoint(new Coordinate(lat, lon));
            final boolean flag = tester.isInShape(p);
            if (flag) {
                System.out.println(p + " is inside");
  • you need to reproject one layer to match the other - see docs.geotools.org/stable/userguide/tutorial/geometry/…
    – Ian Turton
    Jan 24 '17 at 12:22
  • Thanks, @iant. I ran the CRSLab on the page to which you linked and was informed that the SABS data has no valid geometry, though I don't really know what to do with that information.
    – Todd
    Jan 24 '17 at 14:19
  • I just tried with SABS_1314_High.shp and it worked fine
    – Ian Turton
    Jan 24 '17 at 14:21

You need to reproject your points to be in the SABS projection (US National Atlas Equal Area EPSG:2163):

private boolean isInShape(Point p) throws NoSuchAuthorityCodeException, FactoryException, MismatchedDimensionException, TransformException {

    CoordinateReferenceSystem wgs84 = DefaultGeographicCRS.WGS84;
    CoordinateReferenceSystem layerCRS = features.getSchema().getCoordinateReferenceSystem();
    MathTransform transform= CRS.findMathTransform(wgs84, layerCRS,true);
    Point rp = (Point) JTS.transform(p, transform);
    System.out.println(p+" "+rp);

    Expression propertyName = filterFactory.property(features.getSchema()
    Filter filter = filterFactory.contains(propertyName,
    SimpleFeatureCollection sub = features.subCollection(filter);
    if (sub.size() > 0) {
        return true;
    return false;
  • Thanks, @iant. I understand what you are saying regarding the projections, but I don't know where to get the original points (p) from your example or how I use them once I have them. Should I be creating a new shapefile from the points and using that for searching the points-in-polygons?
    – Todd
    Jan 24 '17 at 14:21
  • I'm assuming that Point P in my example is your lat/lon point - then use Point RP to search with
    – Ian Turton
    Jan 24 '17 at 14:22
  • Sorry, just clicked. You are suggesting I convert my point for test first, then test it.
    – Todd
    Jan 24 '17 at 14:23
  • yes, that's all you need to do
    – Ian Turton
    Jan 24 '17 at 14:24
  • that is a simple and concise response that works beautifully, thanks again. Now, I just need to figure out how to determine which polygon the point belongs in and associate that with a school!
    – Todd
    Jan 24 '17 at 14:27

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