How can I extract values from a raster by points?

I prefer not in Arcgis.

I prefer in Qgis or Mapwindow or other open source gis.

  • 1
    So you have points and you need to extract the values from the raster under those points, or do you need to convert the raster cells into points. Just checking before I try and work out the answer.
    – Nathan W
    Nov 16, 2010 at 11:07
  • The first, i have the points and i need to extract thevalues from the raster, under those points. THNX!!
    – Vassilis
    Nov 16, 2010 at 12:50

12 Answers 12


QGIS "Point Sampling Tool" should be the plugin you're looking for.

Here's a detailed description of how to use it: http://pvanb.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/sampling-raster-values-at-point-locations-in-qgis/

Update based on Paolo's comment:

the plugin is not the only solution, and not always the easiest solution anymore. An alternative solution is the Saga function ‘Add raster values to point’ in the processing toolbox. See for details http://pvanb.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/sampling-raster-values-at-point-locations-in-qgis-an-update/

  • 7
    People are still finding the above-mentioned post through this Q&A. However, the plugin is not the only solution, and not always the easiest solution anymore. An alternative solution is the Saga function ‘Add grid values to point’ in the processing toolbox. See for details this post.
    – Ecodiv
    Jul 4, 2014 at 10:17
  • 1
    Caution. I just ran the Point Sampling Tool. 60,000 points and 13 rasters. The results failed my 30 random sample test for each year. This tool has issues with large datasets. I would not use it. Feb 11, 2016 at 15:29
  • 1
    Despite the mentioned issues with large datasets, it is very useful for extracting all multiband values in one go. All other QGIS-related solutions do only support the extraction of one band (like GRASS r.what) or prohibit the use of multiband raster (like Saga - raster values to points).
    – EikeMike
    Jun 6, 2017 at 12:53
  • @EikeMike for sampling a multiband raster, see the method outlined in my post below which is additionally a solution that is both native to QGIS and is able to handle large datasets.
    – Ian
    Jun 2, 2021 at 16:58

I was having problems with the QGIS and SAGA GUI tools mentioned in this thread (Raster values to points was failing for some reason and throwing unhelpful errors and the GRASS v.sample created a whole new layer which was not helpful). After failing with the GUI tools for a while, I tried doing this in the Field Calculator. It worked quite well and I was able to control the process a little better than the GUIs allow, and make some other calculations along the way.

Say you have a layer named pts and another named rast, both in the same coordinate system. You'd like to sample rast at each X,Y pair represented in pts.

If you haven't used the Field Calculator before, it's pretty simple. You will enter your calculation in the "Expression" box, and Q gives you a number of variables and operations in the middle column, with help text on in the right column. I'll break this process into four steps:

  1. Open the attribute table of the pts layer you'd like to sample with.

  2. Once you are in the Field Calculator dialog, choose whether you'd like to Create a new field or Modify an existing field in your pts layer.

  3. Next, build an expression to fill the new or existing pts attribute column. You might start by modifying the expression code that worked for me:

raster_value('rast', 1, make_point($x, $y))
  1. You must supply raster_value() with a raster layer name 'rast', a band number 1, and the point geometry at make_point(). $x and $y are geometry variables dependent on the location of the point in each row of the attribute table.

This method also allows arithmetic operations like subtracting the value of another raster layer called other_rast from rast, which saved me a bunch of time over the GUI tools. Example below:

raster_value('rast', 1, make_point($x, $y)) - raster_value('other_rast', 1, make_point($x, $y))

Note again that the three layers pts, rast, and other_rast must be in the same coordinate system for this method to work.

  • 7
    this is the best answer for this question
    – B-C B.
    Jun 25, 2019 at 15:38
  • 4
    I strongly recommend to follow this answer since I had troubles with all the other solutions.
    – FraNut
    Apr 22, 2020 at 13:13
  • 1
    This answer is what I was looking for. I am tired of having 100s of temporary files created by SAGA, GDAL or QGIS tools. Thank you so much.
    – The Dude
    Sep 1, 2020 at 10:13
  • Esta função está habilitada a partir de qual versão do QGIS?
    – Jean
    Mar 29, 2022 at 17:24
  • 1
    You can just use raster_value('rast', 1, $geometry) if the pts layer has points geometries
    – jpinilla
    Mar 26 at 17:25

In PostGIS 2.0 you can do:

SELECT ST_Value(rast, geom) val
FROM yourrastertabe, yourpointtable
WHERE ST_Intersects(rast, geom)

Make sure your raster is tiled very small when you load it (-t 10x10 with the loader).


Try using QGIS 3.2.2 and SAGA (installed by default in QGIS): "Raster Values to Points" function will do everything for you: It takes a image file and converts it into a Point-vector shape taking the information from raster image.


Hawthorne Beyer's GME tools do this nicely via command line, and allow easy batching with 'for' loops.

isectpntrst(in="path/to/shapefile", raster="path/to/raster", field="fieldname")

GME isectpntrst command reference


In GRASS GIS, you can either query the map in the GUI or use http://grass.osgeo.org/gdp/html_grass64/r.what.html

  • 2
    For Grass I found this:pvanb.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/…
    – Vassilis
    Nov 19, 2010 at 8:58
  • Another GRASS module that is capable of sampling a raster is v.sample, which is also available through the QGIS processing toolbox.
    – user55937
    Feb 12, 2016 at 20:45

http://gis-techniques.blogspot.com/2012/10/extract-raster-values-from-points.html has step by step guide to use R Raster package extract raster values from points.


You can use this: http://www.saga-gis.org/saga_module_doc/2.1.3/shapes_grid_3.html

Its in the SAGA Toolbox of Qgis! It does everything in one step :)


Here's a function I wrote using python and gdal. The function takes a list of rasters and a pandas dataframe containing the point coordinates and returns a pandas dataframe with the point coordinates, the centroids for the respective raster cells and the respective cell values. The function is part of the under development package chorospy package (found here).

import pandas
import numpy
from osgeo import gdal

def getValuesAtPoint(indir, rasterfileList, pos, lon, lat):
    #gt(2) and gt(4) coefficients are zero, and the gt(1) is pixel width, and gt(5) is pixel height.
    #The (gt(0),gt(3)) position is the top left corner of the top left pixel of the raster.
    for i, rs in enumerate(rasterfileList):

        presValues = []
        gdata = gdal.Open('{}/{}.tif'.format(indir,rs))
        gt = gdata.GetGeoTransform()
        band = gdata.GetRasterBand(1)
        nodata = band.GetNoDataValue()

        x0, y0 , w , h = gt[0], gt[3], gt[1], gt[5]

        data = band.ReadAsArray().astype(numpy.float)
        #free memory
        del gdata

        if i == 0:
            #iterate through the points
            for p in pos.iterrows():
                x = int((p[1][lon] - x0)/w)
                Xc = x0 + x*w + w/2 #the cell center x
                y = int((p[1][lat] - y0)/h)
                Yc = y0 + y*h + h/2 #the cell center y
                    if data[y,x] != nodata:
                        presVAL = [p[1][lon],p[1][lat], '{:.6f}'.format(Xc), '{:.6f}'.format(Yc), data[y,x]]
            df = pandas.DataFrame(presValues, columns=['x', 'y', 'Xc', 'Yc', rs])
            #iterate through the points
            for p in pos.iterrows():
                x = int((p[1][lon] - x0)/w)
                y = int((p[1][lat] - y0)/h)
                    if data[y,x] != nodata:
            df[rs] = pandas.Series(presValues)
    del data, band
    return df

Example of how to run it given that the rasters are in your current working directory:

rasDf = getValuesAtPoint('.', ['raster1', 'raster2'], inPoints, 'x', 'y')

If you have access to FME then you can use one of two transformers in FME Workbench.

The RasterCellCoercer ("Decomposes all input numeric raster features into individual points or polygons. One vector feature is output for each cell in the raster.")

The PointOnRasterValueExtractor ("Takes in point features and a single reference raster. The output consists of the band and palette value(s) at the location of each point.")

  • No I don't have or use FME, is a standalone application or a plugin?
    – Vassilis
    Nov 26, 2010 at 9:14

You can use Sample Raster Values from the Processing Toolbox in QGIS. This algorithm creates a new vector layer with the same attributes of the input layer and the raster values corresponding on the point location. If the raster layer has more than one band, all the band values are sampled.


Quick thought:

  1. gdal_polygonize.py - polygonize your raster feature
  2. Insert your point features and polygons into PostGIS database
  3. Use st_intersects function to pull all elevation values where features intersect
  • interesting approach, because yesterday start studing how to use Postgis.
    – Vassilis
    Mar 12, 2012 at 20:35
  • Thanks, it's fairly simplistic but it works. Here is what I was able to produce with this approach: i.imgur.com/h8CGJ.png
    – user5584
    Mar 14, 2012 at 13:58

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