I am trying to plot district boundaries on a map of Nepal. For that I downloaded a shapefile of districts in Nepal from this site:


The folder name was NP_75DWGS84 and all the files within the folder had the files containing the same name. Then I used the following code:

from mpl_toolkits.basemap import Basemap
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

map = Basemap()    
map.readshapefile('/home/mala/NP_75DWGS84/NP_75DWGS84','NP_75DWGS84',linewidth=1.0,drawbounds = False)

It gives me total plot of world, but, it is not plotting shapefiles in the graph. There is also no error. What is wrong here?

  • Do you have a directory named "NP_75DWGS84" and a shapefile named "NP_75DWGS84" in that directory?
    – Aaron
    Aug 15, 2017 at 3:42
  • @Aaron yes, I have the directory and the shape file Aug 15, 2017 at 4:36
  • Please be more specifiy. Your title is about not being able to "import" a Shapefile but reading the rest suggests you are getting no errors but just an empty plot? Is that correct? Do your basemap extents and the data coincide? Aug 15, 2017 at 8:08
  • @bugmenot123 .I am ploting domain of nepal and the basemap is of that specific domain. The shape file are of the boundary within the country .I think It should coincide but I don't know how to find out weather it coincides or not. Aug 15, 2017 at 12:11
  • 1
    Try "drawbounds = True" or delete this parameter? When drawbounds is false the shapefile is not drawn, returning the geometry instead for you to add to the plot as needed. Aug 16, 2017 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


Try specifying the extent of the map when you create the Basemap() object, by setting the lower left and upper right corner coordinates, e.g.:

map = Basemap(llcrnrlon=80.0,llcrnrlat=26.2,urcrnrlon=88.3,urcrnrlat=30.6)
map.readshapefile('/home/mala/NP_75DWGS84/NP_75DWGS84','NP_75DWGS84',linewidth=1.0,drawbounds = False)

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