I have

  • a grid (10 x 10 km) where each cell is identified by a code
  • a shapefile, a point layer, with the year when each point was sampled

as shown in the figure below.


As you can see from the image below, the year is identified by a color and in each cell I have many points of different years.


What I want to obtain is an intersection between the two layers, specifically, I want the same grid with a new column showing the year(s) of the points within each cell. I show you below an example

Cell_ID       Year_of_sampling
10kmE275N271  2014-2015
10kmE276N271  2015
10kmE277N271  2013-2016
10kmE278N271  2013-2015-2016

It seems an easy task, but with Vector -> Geoprocessing -> Intersection is not possible. Any ideas?

  • 1
    I think you are trying to perform this One-to-many spatial join with results in one row, p.s. in the query change ST_INTERSECTS() into ST_WITHIN(). Alternatively, you may be interested in this Assigning each point name of polygon in which it lies using QGIS?.
    – Taras
    Apr 4, 2020 at 14:03
  • 1
    In case if you want to have only unique year than you DISTINCT inside of the query GROUP_CONCAT(DISTINCT year)
    – Taras
    Apr 4, 2020 at 14:17
  • Yes, it works. I don't know why but using ST_WITHIN() it doesn't work, whereas ST_ITERSECTS() yes (and it was suitable for what I needed)
    – Franza
    Apr 4, 2020 at 16:25
  • 1
    For ST_ITERSECTS() both are acceptable either ST_ITERSECTS(points, grid) or ST_ITERSECTS(grid, points). When you use ST_WITHIN() it should be ST_WITHIN(point, grid) and not ST_WITHIN(grid, point) By point and grid I mean their geoemtries
    – Taras
    Apr 4, 2020 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


You can use the Field Calculator and the array variable to create a new field in the grid layer attribute table.

This is the expression that you should use

 layer:= 'point_layer',
 filter:=contains(geometry(@parent), $geometry))),

changing your point_layer name and your field_name according with your data.

in the image below an example of the result using a layer called point and a field called id.

enter image description here

NB The array_sort variable is not available in all the QGIS versions. To use it you should install before the plugin ArrayPlus.

  • Looking at your results it is what I wanted, unfortunately I hadn't the array_sort, and also I was not able to install the plugin (I use QGIS 2.18 for Mac)
    – Franza
    Apr 4, 2020 at 16:30
  • Highly suggested updating it to the most recent LTD, i.e. QGIS 3.10
    – Taras
    Apr 4, 2020 at 16:35
  • I agree with Taras suggestion. Anyway, array_sort order your attribute. You can always apply the expression removing the array_sort and sort the result in another way.
    – Val P
    Apr 4, 2020 at 16:42
  • Shame on me should be LTR not LTD
    – Taras
    Apr 4, 2020 at 16:44

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