I want to use OGR in Python to write a simple point-in-polygon test:

def point_in_polygon(point, polygon):
    point : [longitude, latitude]

    polygon : [(lon1, lat1), (lon2, lat2), ..., (lonn, latn)]

    # Create spatialReference
    spatialReference = osgeo.osr.SpatialReference()
    # Create ring
    ring = osgeo.ogr.Geometry(osgeo.ogr.wkbLinearRing)
    # Add points
    for lon, lat in polygon:
        ring.AddPoint(lon, lat)
    # Create polygon
    poly = osgeo.ogr.Geometry(osgeo.ogr.wkbPolygon)
    # Create point
    pt = osgeo.ogr.Geometry(osgeo.ogr.wkbPoint)
    pt.SetPoint(0, point[0], point[1])
    # test
    return pt.Within(poly)

However, it doesn't seem to work properly:

In [22]: polygon = [(-10., -10.), (-10., 10.), (10., 10.), (10., -10.), (-10., -10.)]

In [23]: point_in_polygon([0., 0.], polygon)
Out[23]: True

In [24]: point_in_polygon([359., 0.], polygon)
Out[24]: False

Any ideas what I'm missing?

2 Answers 2


I suspect it's because the underlying GEOS library only work in Cartesian space rather than spherical, so you'll have to subtract 360 from any longitudinal coordinate greater than 180, which makes 359 == -1. Of course, you'll still have problems with features crossing the anti-meridian (i.e. +- 180 degrees longitude), but you can easily detect that and not do the 360 subtraction step.

  • Thanks for your clarification. It strikes me as odd that something having "geospatial" in its name doesn't cover these simple geo-applications. Any other idea how I can solve the point-in-polygon in Python without having to consider those cases manually?
    – andreash
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 6:40

According to your comment if you are looking for pure code rather using OGR package, there are many good links such as this: in C and this: in Python which directly address your problem by pure codes. You may find even more by googling;)

  • 1
    thanks, but those links don't take into account that the Earth is a sphere.
    – andreash
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 11:48

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