How to update the attribute of a GeoDataFrame based on another database? I have a master GeoDataFrame with line features. I have another GeoDataFrame (say obs) which is a subset of the master geodatabase. My analysis regularly updates the obs. How can I write the results back to the master GeoDataFrame by matching geometry?

Can I do spatial join using geometry as the key?

GeoPandas documentation talks about spatial join by merging. How can I use this approach for updating my attribute values?

  • Do your updates change the obs geometry or other related values? Apr 23, 2020 at 1:34
  • No. Just the attribute values of a subset of master GeoDataset
    – PPR
    Apr 23, 2020 at 2:06

1 Answer 1


I can't see where spatial join would apply for your case. But if you have a "master" dataframe and a subset of it updating, you can write the updates back with pandas .loc[].

master = gpd.read_file(gpd.datasets.get_path('naturalearth_lowres'))
obs = master.copy().sample(3)
obs['gdp_md_est'] = obs['gdp_md_est']**2         # updating some other values
obs['geometry'] = obs['geometry'].simplify(0.5)  # updating geometry
master.loc[obs.index] == obs  # see that different after the update (should return False)
master.loc[obs.index] = obs   # update
master.loc[obs.index] == obs  # check if your updates were completed (should return True)
  • Thanks a lot. A quick follow-up question. If obs data has fewer columns (or attributes) than the master data can I use the following to update my model? master.loc[obs.index,[list of attribute columns]= curr_obs. This works for my present case.
    – PPR
    Apr 23, 2020 at 3:14
  • Yes, your solution is fine. Apr 23, 2020 at 3:29

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