I'm writing a Python script where I have to read a Shapefile, sort its rows/records by a specific field, and then write a new shapefile with that new order.

Does anyone how can I do it?

I'm using Fiona to open the file but I can't find out how I can do an so easy and common operation as an ORDER BY.


The solution proposed by @Jose works perfectly right. But geopandas doesn't create the .prj file that contains the projection description and this is a problem if you need it. A possible solution could be just copy the original file with the new name:

import os
import geopandas as gpd

def main(file, field):
    output_file_name = os.path.splitext(file)[0] + '_sorted_by_' + field + os.path.splitext(file)[1]

    shape = gpd.read_file(file)
    shape_sorted = shape.iloc[shape[field].sort_values().index.values]
    shape_sorted.to_file(driver='ESRI Shapefile', filename=output_file_name)

    # Copy prj file
    prj_file = os.path.splitext(file)[0] + '.prj'

    if os.path.isfile(prj_file):
        from shutil import copyfile
        output_prj_file_name = os.path.splitext(file)[0] + '_sorted_by_' + field + '.prj'
        copyfile(prj_file, output_prj_file_name)

Finally I decided to use a ogr2ogr command with -sql argument and execute it in Python using os.system(command) utility.

import os

def main(file, field):
    output_file_name = os.path.splitext(file)[0] + '_sorted_by_' + field + os.path.splitext(file)[1]
    file_object = os.path.splitext(os.path.basename(file))[0]

    command = 'ogr2ogr -sql "SELECT * FROM ' + file_object + ' ORDER BY ' + field + '" ' + output_file_name + ' ' + file


if __name__ == '__main__':

  • 1
    If you just need to sort the file and it does not need to be with Python you could use this MapServer utility mapserver.org/utilities/sortshp.html.
    – user30184
    Feb 13, 2019 at 19:25
  • 1
    Load your records into a list and then use python's built-in sorting with a key function.
    – mikewatt
    Feb 13, 2019 at 20:12
  • ogr2ogr can read/write shapefiles, it has a sql option you can issue an Order By to sort a shapefile. Not Python specific.
    – klewis
    Feb 13, 2019 at 22:49
  • @klewis thanks for your suggestion. A combination of ogr2ogr and Python was what I finally decided to use. Thanks Feb 14, 2019 at 11:33
  • I don't have that issue with the prj file, @LuisSP, maybe if you set the crs with shape.crs = {'init': 'epsg:4326'} or shape.to_file(crs={'init': 'epsg:4326'})
    – Jose
    Feb 14, 2019 at 17:32

1 Answer 1


You can use geopandas, if you use pandas you will be familiar with this library:

import geopandas as gpd

shapefile_path = 'path_to_your_file/your_file.shp'
shape = gpd.read_file(shapefile_path)
shape_sorted = shape.iloc[shape['YOUR FIELD'].sort_values().index.values]
shape_sorted.to_file(driver='ESRI Shapefile', filename='output_file.shp')

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