This might be a dumb question, but I wasn't able to find the answer anywhere.

Reading the metadata of a raster file in Python using GDAL is as easy as:

result = str(gdal.Info(raster.tif))
print result

In this case I want to do the same for a shapefile. I know I can use ogrinfo -ro -so -al foo.shp in the shell, but I have not found a way to do the same only in Python within a single line.

I'm looking for something like:

result = str(ogr.Info(shapefile.shp))
print result

Am I missing something obvious or is there really no function like this?

  • try something from pcjericks.github.io/py-gdalogr-cookbook/…
    – Ian Turton
    Apr 25, 2018 at 16:42
  • Already did that, but those only return specific information like feature count, extent, layer definition and so on. Of course I could get everything I'm looking for with multiple calls and afterwards append everything to a string, but that's why I'm looking for a function like ogr.Info(shapefile.shp)
    – Iridium
    Apr 25, 2018 at 16:48
  • 1
    Then it doesn't exist. Nothing shows up with dir(ogr) and I can't see anything in the docs. If you can hack a nice module from the cookbook recipes then it might be a nice thing to publish. You'd probably get some help... Start a project on gitlab today!
    – Spacedman
    Apr 25, 2018 at 16:53
  • 1
    Well, then at least I have the peace of mind that I'm not blind. Was thinking the whole time that I was missing something quite basic. I currently don't have time at all to start a project, but will keep it in mind for future endeavours!
    – Iridium
    Apr 25, 2018 at 16:59
  • 3
    Use Fiona or GeoPandas, based on ogr
    – gene
    Apr 25, 2018 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


Here is a more convoluted way to call anything gdal-related, using the subprocess module :

from subprocess import Popen, PIPE

args = ['ogrinfo', '-ro', '-so', '-al', 'bacon.shp']
process = Popen(args, stdout=PIPE, stderr=PIPE)

stdout = process.communicate()[0].decode('utf-8').strip()

This acts as a virtual shell of sorts, and prints out whatever the shell returns. Here's some documentation about subprocess. It might be a bit heavy for what you want to do, but I've found it very useful for some tasks I had to do which weren't do-able using the GDAL module.

(NB. The decode/strip part is there just so that the output looks nicer.)

  • Thanks, it works like a charm! Not the one-liner that I was looking for, but definetly more compact (and maybe useful in the future!) than calling every single attribute and slapping it together in a string.
    – Iridium
    Apr 26, 2018 at 11:41

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