I have two attributes that contain a value of ' ', among others, which are not selected when I apply an SQL statement in my python script. Trying the same statement in ArcMap does result in them being selected.

I have an attribute "BYGNSTYPE" which has as distinct values:

  • ' ' <-
  • 'Bygning' <-
  • 'Drivhus' <-
  • 'Ikke tildelt'
  • 'Pelsdyr Opdræt' <-
  • 'Tank/Silo'

The values with an arrow next to them are the ones I want. When I use the WHERE clause: BYGNSTYPE <> 'Ikke tildelt' AND BYGNSTYPE <> 'Tank/Silo', ArcMap returns: 4,517,327 records.

When I apply the clause in my script using GDAL it returns 4,514,343 records.

sql =  "SELECT * FROM BYGNING WHERE BYGNSTYPE <> 'Ikke tildelt' AND BYGNSTYPE <> 'Tank/Silo'"
selectData = inData.ExecuteSQL(sql)
print sql
if selectData is None:
    print 'No data is selected...'
    print 'Finished selecting data'
print "Selected features: %s " % selectData.GetFeatureCount()

When providing the oposite statement it also does not select records where BYGNSTYPE = ' '. How can I select ' ' values in Python GDAL using SQL?


Adding 'OR BYGNSTYPE IS NULL' to the SQL statement in Python/GDAL results in the same records being selected.

  • 1
    First I would test with AND BYGNSTYPE is not null and next by using the SQLite SQL dialect.
    – user30184
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 15:26
  • I tried it, but I get the same result.
    – Tins
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 15:42
  • Make a small dataset with about ten records, test that you can reproduce the issue and put it somewhere for download.
    – user30184
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 15:44
  • I made a subset of 30 polygons containing the same distinct values as above. However, the same issue comes up. GDAL does not select ' ' values. The data can be found here: www55.zippyshare.com/v/AkzfUVQG/file.html.
    – Tins
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 16:09
  • 1
    Actually, perhaps OR IS NULL could do it. I can't test myself right now.
    – user30184
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


In SQL language NULL has a special meaning and OGR seems to behave correctly when it does not include NULLs when you make a search as "something else than 'Ikke tildelt' or 'Tank/Silo'. You must explicitly add NULL values to the query as


ArcMap seems to deal with NULLs in a different way which is OK if it does not claim that it is using SQL. See reference https://www.w3schools.com/sql/sql_null_values.asp.

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