I'm having a a GeoDataFrame of polygons. I want to find the maximum length of a straight line that can fit inside each polygon. You could call this the characteristic length of the polygon. The length I'm looking for is shown in below image. I took the image from Getting max length of polygon and average width using PostGIS, but they use PostGIS and I would like to do this with Python GeoPandas.

If this is possible with GeoPandas, could somebody explain how to do this?

I tried polygondf.length, but this gives me the length of the perimeter, which is not what I'm looking for.

Maximum length in Polygon


1 Answer 1


An approximation since it will only measure distances between existing vertices:

import geopandas as gpd
from shapely.geometry import LineString, mapping
from itertools import combinations
import re

df = gpd.read_file('/home/bera/GIS/Data/testdata/longest_line2.shp')

longest_lines = []
for g in list(df.geometry):
    all_coords = str(mapping(g)["coordinates"]) #https://gis.stackexchange.com/questions/287306/list-all-polygon-vertices-coordinates-using-geopandas
    all_xys = re.findall("\d+\.\d+", all_coords) #I know this is ugly, but it works in extracting floats from nested tuples
    all_xys = zip(all_xys[::2],all_xys[1::2])
    lines = []
    for p1,p2 in combinations(all_xys,2): #For all combinations of polygon vertices create a line
        line = LineString([(float(p1[0]),float(p1[1])), (float(p2[0]),float(p2[1]))])
        line = line.intersection(g) #To only include the line inside polygon
    longest_lines.append(max(lines, key=lambda x: x.length)) #Find longest line

df.geometry=longest_lines #Replace polygon geometris with lines
df.to_file('/home/bera/GIS/Data/testdata/longest_lines2.shp') #Save

enter image description here

For a polygon looking like this it will not find the longest line since there is no vertice top mid: enter image description here


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