I am making a buffer analysis in a standalone script.

Is it possible to automatically, during the analysis, add index to the output vector layer (".qix" file)?

I tried to add after the analysis like in QGIS2:

layer_out = QgsVectorLayer(out, out[-7:-4],'ogr')


where out is a path to shapefile, out[-7:-4] the shapefile name. However in QGIS 3.2 Bonn, I got the error message:

AttributeError: 'QgsVectorLayer' object has no attribute 'createSpatialIndex'

If an automated way of creating index during analysis is not possible, how to create it after it in standalone script?

  • The defaul format in QGIS 3 is GeoPackage. Maybe that has some effect. Or does your code still create a shapefile with QGIS 3.2 if you do not try to create the spatial index?
    – user30184
    Oct 18, 2018 at 10:19
  • Without creating an index I have the proper shapefile from the buffer analisys. Oct 18, 2018 at 10:23
  • 1
    If you just need to have .qix index you can create it with shptree utility. It is originally made for Mapserver github.com/mapserver/mapserver/wiki/ShpTree but it is often delivered together with GDAL. But of course it should still be possible to create it with Python.
    – user30184
    Oct 18, 2018 at 11:03
  • 1
    I have just used a version of your code in QGIS LTR 3.22.4 and it worked successfully for me on a Shapefile, the only difference was that I assigned the dataProvider to a new variable and called createSpatialIndex on that. Mar 10, 2022 at 10:39
  • @bugmenot123 What is your purpose of starting the bounty? Because layer_out.dataProvider().createSpatialIndex() works without an error and makes .qix file in a standalone script (QGIS 3.28). Mar 5, 2023 at 18:54

2 Answers 2


If you use layer_out.dataProvider().createSpatialIndex() you don't get that error. To get the error you must use layer_out.createSpatialIndex(). The code in the question doesn't throw the error: AttributeError: 'QgsVectorLayer' object has no attribute 'createSpatialIndex'

layer_out.dataProvider().createSpatialIndex() works without an error and makes .qix file in a standalone script (QGIS 3.28).

import os
import sys
from processing.core.Processing import Processing
import processing
from qgis.core import QgsApplication, QgsVectorLayer
from qgis.analysis import QgsNativeAlgorithms

sys.path.append('C:\\Program Files\\QGIS 3.28.1/apps/qgis/python/plugins')
QgsApplication.setPrefixPath(os.environ['QGIS_PREFIX_PATH'], True)

qgs = QgsApplication([], True)

input_file = 'c:/path/to/input.shp'
out_file = 'c:/path/to/out.shp'

out = processing.run("native:buffer",
                     {'INPUT': input_file,
                      'OUTPUT': out_file})["OUTPUT"]

layer_out = QgsVectorLayer(out, out[-7:-4], 'ogr')

# this line generates .qix file


To create a spatial index in v3 try either:

index = QgsSpatialIndex()


index = QgsSpatialIndex(layer.getFeatures())

Using Spatial Index

  • 4
    The question is asking how to create a file based spatial index, not an in-memory one. If an instance of QgsSpatialIndex can be written out as a .qix file then please expand your answer to cover that. Mar 10, 2022 at 9:52

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