I am wondering if/how PyQGIS can intercept the QgsVirtualLayerProvider::getFeatures() requests of a VirtualLayer, and pull out just the spatial extent from the QgsFeatureRequest to dynamically formulate a subselect for one piece of a query, to be used as an 'IN' clause of a larger, more complex query ...

I effectively want to select polygon ids from one spatial layer, and use their ids on the fly to select features from another, much larger time series table. Simply making a view joining the two by id doesn't work: for every polygon id, there may be hundreds of rows.

So I want to explicitly pick apart the QgsFeatureRequest into spatial vs attribute components, and execute well-crafted queries appropriately.

I want to be issuing queries to PostGIS that look something like:

select b.price, b.block_id, g.the_geom from hc_models.block_ts b, join tiger_latest.tabblock g on b.block_id = g.tabblock_id
where b.month = ‘2005-01-01’ and b.block_id in

(select tabblock_id from tiger_latest.tabblock WHERE "the_geom" && st_makeenvelope(-122.45845691920965237,37.75162120370001873,-122.44739741920977849,37.75793370369994761,4269)

the subselect against tiger_latest.tabblock will yield a few dozen rows, and the subsequent query against hc_models.block_ts will hit a combined month+id index.

Can this be done in a Virtual Layer? I see a tantalizing comment in the "Index Support" description for Virtual Layers:

"For spatial indexes, a 'hidden' field named 'search_frame' is created for each virtual table (i.e. each referenced layer of the virtual layer). The bounding box of the given geometry will be used to restrain the query to a particular region of space. This bounding box is passed to the underlyng provider by a QgsFeatureRequest with a "filterRect".

How to use this? Or should I just bite the bullet and start with a raw QgsPluginLayer?

  • still struggling with this ... Feb 9, 2017 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure I fully understand your purpose but I recommand you to head to the Python unit tests for QgsVirtualLayerProvider.

There are several cases to explore using VirtualLayers with QgsFeatureRequest. You can see them at QGis Github code repository (PS: I link to QGIS 2.18 series code)

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