Spatial data often have defects that may include incomplete polygons, sleathers (non-uniform administrative boundaries), overlaps, having points that belong to more than one polygon, etc. I have a collection of spatial data in .shp format, which I wish to clean up. They include administrative boundaries and population/point data.

To clean the data, I'll have to first discover the defects. This process is hectic. I'm hoping that there are tools that I can use to automate this process.

I'm using GeoServer and PostGIS. I'm looking for tools that can I can use for the defect discovery.

  • 1
    The items you have listed, overlaps, incomplete polygons, etc., would seem to be more of a problem of spatial data quality, than they would be related to a specific spatial data storage format. You could just as easily run into errors such as these in a spatially enabled RDBMS, or a CAD format. This all being said, do you have a specific problem or task you are trying to accomplish? What software are you using? What data are you trying to clean up? The more detail you can provide, the more likely you are to obtain a relevant answer. Jul 6, 2012 at 8:42
  • @GetSpatial I've rephrased my question.
    – okello
    Jul 6, 2012 at 9:02

1 Answer 1


What you need is basically build topology for you vector layer. One option is using ArcGIS, convert your shapefiles to ESRI GeoDataBase, create topology using different rules defined in ArcGIS and then clean your data. Here is a short tutorial for the same.

Another option is using postgis and check for dataset validation. Here is a tutorial for this.In that case you will have to convert your shapefile into postgis tables.

  • I would agree with @thelastray. Don't think you will find a topology validator for shapefiles only. There used to be some old 'shapefile checkers' but were mainly dealing with the actual shapefile format rather than the topology. For instance: freegeographytools.com/2008/another-shapefile-repair-tool
    – mapoholic
    Jul 6, 2012 at 9:23
  • @mapoholic Thanks. With your pointers, I can get down to trying out actual stuff.
    – okello
    Jul 6, 2012 at 9:44

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