In QGIS I am trying to read raster band data from a specific layer in my Python plug in.

I can easily get access to the layer from the console with something like this.


and I can easily get access to a single random pixel value with something like this.

iface.mapCanvas().layers()[0].dataProvider().sample(QgsPointXY(longitude, <latitude>),1)

but what I want to do is grab the whole band matrix of values. something akin to this.

ds = gdal.Open(iface.mapCanvas().layers()[0].source()) 
band1 = np.array(ds.GetRasterBand(1).ReadAsArray())

but without having to open up the file again.

I assume since the band data is attached to the layer that I must be able to access it somehow, but I've now spent hours reading documentation trying to figure it out only to come up short.

Is there a way to read band data from a raster layer into a numpy array in PyQGIS once I get access to the layer I care about? or is the "open a file using the layer source with GDAL" my best option?


2 Answers 2


Here is a function to convert a QgsRasterLayer to a numpy array without GDAL through using the block method of the QgsRasterDataProvider(link):

from numpy import array

def convertRasterToNumpyArray(lyr): #Input: QgsRasterLayer
    provider= lyr.dataProvider()
    block = provider.block(1,lyr.extent(),lyr.width(),lyr.height())
    for i in range(lyr.height()):
        for j in range(lyr.width()):
    return array(values)

lyr = iface.mapCanvas().layers()[0]


Reading data by nested loop is not necessary. Numpy (like other languages) has the utility to read memory buffer directly:

The only problem is to use proper data type:

rast = iface.mapCanvas().layers()[0]
prov = rast.dataProvider()
block = prov.block(1,rast.extent(),rast.width(),rast.height())
data = np.frombuffer(block.data(),dtype=np.uint8)# set proper data type
data.shape=(rast.height(),rast.width()) # opposite to raster
  • This question is almost 5 years old and I'm not using QGIS anymore so I can't confirm it, but this is much more like the solution I was looking for at the time. If someone else can can confirm it works or if @jarekj71 can post a more detailed screen shot of it working ... happy to at least upvote. Jan 4 at 20:53

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