I have two polygons layers - counties and urban-mega-messes (UMM). I have a shapefile for each. I would like to spatially join the county attribute information to the UMM layer and create a new joined file, answering: what counties are the UMM's located in?

In many cases, the UMM's are in multiple counties, in which case I would like additional rows to be added to the joined shapefile for each county in which they are contained.


For example, the UMM "New York City" is in multiple counties.

I have been trying Data Management Tools -> Join attributes by location, but only 1 county record is appended to each UMM in the joined table - no additional rows are added.

I've searched online but found no answer. Is there a plugin that would do the trick? Or another tool in QGIS?

  • I realize a spatial join isn't exactly what I want, because the UMM polys in the resulting "joined" file will have different geo than in the original. So... join and split? Is that a thing?
    – Daniel Roy
    May 22, 2017 at 16:29
  • You need a relate, which covers "one to many" relationships.
    – That Idiot
    May 22, 2017 at 17:01
  • Try "INTERSECTION" tool and use as input layer your UMM and as intersect layer the COUNTY layer. That will create a new layer where each UMM feature will split depending on the COUNTY that it falls in.
    – geoSAM
    May 23, 2017 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


The INTERSECTION tool worked perfectly in this case.

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