I am working on a research problem for a location for which geospatial vector data does not exist. This means I have to create one from scratch so that I can create shapefile data for this location.

How can I go about this?

I would not mind texts and all kinds of tutorials. I am a physicist and I have not really worked with GIS data before, so consider me a beginner. I do not have any preliminary data yet but my location looks almost circular like this:

enter image description here

  • 5
    Creating an empty shapefile should be easy enough, but so would starting from a CSV with coordinates, and generating a data files from there. In fact, there are so many potential mechanisms, and so many missing details, that giving guidance at this point might send you in the wrong direction. Please Edit the question to provide more infoemation on the location you want to generate and what you have attempted so far.
    – Vince
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 1:18
  • @Vince, I have made modifications to the question but I know it is not quite informative enough. I have not attempted any data generation yet since I do not have an idea of how to start. I never even knew I will end up looking for shapefile data until I attended a lecture some months ago. If you could show me one or two examples, I think I should be able to kickstart my learning trip. Thanks
    – Dean
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 3:14
  • 1
    What kind of data will you be working with? Boundaries /areas? Points? Raster /pixels? What kind of data would be attached to the spatial information?
    – Simbamangu
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 5:57
  • 2
    Have a look at the QGIS Creating Vector Data tutorial
    – user2856
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 10:08
  • 1
    Given the graphic you added, you might be better off generating a KML file, and converting that to geodata at need.
    – Vince
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 11:49

1 Answer 1


You need to consider several things before making a spatial data file or database table. Several applications and APIs will create the data on disk for you. QGIS is easy with menu Layer > Create Layer > ... You at least need to know:

  • You data projection. Latitude - longitude (EPSG: 4326 - WGS 84) seems right for you with your data extent
  • The columns (fields) you need and their data type (text, integer, ...)
  • Geometry type (point, line, polygon)

If you want to make something like in your image, I guess you calculate the polygons by hand or another application you end up having to use Python (pyqgis) API for generating the geometries from coordinates.

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