I am reading a shapefile as geopandas DataFrame and them using pandas subset method to select a region.

geodata = gpd.read_file(bayshp)



1   06001   Alameda (POLYGON ((6065941.393835935 2104148.464510527...
2   06013   Contra Costa    (POLYGON ((6143913.640835938 2209458.230510532...
3   06041   Marin   (POLYGON ((5879149.417835938 2203020.920510533...
4   06055   Napa    POLYGON ((6075700.362835937 2441916.530510533,...
5   06075   San Francisco   (POLYGON ((5990480.312835939 2123810.13351053,..

Subset the df:

# Subset based on the index
geosub = geodata.iloc[0:2]

I've got a function that accepts geopandas DataFrame and number of points to sample as arguments.

def sample_random_geo(df, n):

    # Randomly sample geolocation data from defined polygon 
    points = np.random.sample(df, n)

    return points

However, the np.random.sample or for that matter any numpy random sampling doesn't support geopandas object type.

I am wondering if there is a way to randomly sample geocoordinates from the spatial region.

  • 1
    What you can do is sample from the integer range (0, 1, .., n) and then use the sampled integers to index the dataframe. But note that you also have a .sample() method on a (Geo)DataFrame that basically does that.
    – joris
    Aug 29, 2018 at 22:05
  • The dataframe is a record of counties in the bay area with the geometry. What I am interested in sampling from different geometries. So for instance, in the above dataframe randomly sampling geocoordinates from the Alameda county.
    – kms
    Aug 29, 2018 at 22:17
  • What do you mean by "sampling geocoordinates"? Random vertices of Alameda county polygon or coordinates of random points within that polygon or something else? Aug 29, 2018 at 22:24
  • @Kadir latter. Random points within the Alameda county polygon.
    – kms
    Aug 29, 2018 at 22:55

3 Answers 3


Here's another way to do it:

import geopandas as gpd
import numpy as np

# load an example polygons geodataframe
gdf_polys = gpd.read_file(gpd.datasets.get_path('nybb'))

It looks like the following:

enter image description here

# find the bounds of your geodataframe
x_min, y_min, x_max, y_max = gdf_polys.total_bounds

# set sample size
n = 100
# generate random data within the bounds
x = np.random.uniform(x_min, x_max, n)
y = np.random.uniform(y_min, y_max, n)

# convert them to a points GeoSeries
gdf_points = gpd.GeoSeries(gpd.points_from_xy(x, y))
# only keep those points within polygons
gdf_points = gdf_points[gdf_points.within(gdf_polys.unary_union)]

Now you have:

enter image description here


GeoPandas uses Shapely geometries. As far as a know, there is no a function which gets random points within a polygon. So, you must write any like below. Add this script to yours.

from shapely.geometry import Point
import geopandas as gpd
import random

def random_points_in_polygon(number, polygon):
    points = []
    min_x, min_y, max_x, max_y = polygon.bounds
    i= 0
    while i < number:
        point = Point(random.uniform(min_x, max_x), random.uniform(min_y, max_y))
        if polygon.contains(point):
            i += 1
    return points  # returns list of shapely point

geodata = gpd.read_file("path/to/your/file.shp")

# generate 5 points within the first county polygon in geodata
points = random_points_in_polygon(5, geodata.iloc[0].geometry)

# Coordinates of the first point
# print(points[0].x, points[0].y)

# print coordinates of all points
for i, point in enumerate(points):
    print("Point {}: ({},{})".format(str(i+1), point.x, point.y))

Reference: How to generate random coordinates in a multipolygon in python


Here's a solution that takes advantage of MultiPoint and MultiPolygon to avoid loops.

import numpy as np
import geopandas as gpd
import shapely.geometry

def sample_geoseries(geoseries, size, overestimate=2):
    polygon = geoseries.unary_union
    min_x, min_y, max_x, max_y = polygon.bounds
    ratio = polygon.area / polygon.envelope.area
    samples = np.random.uniform((min_x, min_y), (max_x, max_y), (int(size / ratio * overestimate), 2))
    multipoint = shapely.geometry.MultiPoint(samples)
    multipoint = multipoint.intersection(polygon)
    samples = np.array(multipoint)
    while samples.shape[0] < size:
        # emergency catch in case by bad luck we didn't get enough within the polygon
        samples = np.concatenate([samples, random_points_in_polygon(polygon, size, overestimate=overestimate)])
    return samples[np.random.choice(len(samples), size)]

geodata = gpd.read_file(bayshp)
points = sample_geoseries(geodata['geometry'])

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