i have a shapefile of country subdivisions and i would like to extract an array of bounding lat and lon for each division.. is it possible to do?

  • Please clarify: do you have a shapefile or an Excel file?
    – whuber
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 15:08
  • 1
    The title doesn't really reflect your question, please think about editing it.
    – DavidF
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 15:21
  • i have a shapefile
    – mossplix
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 15:43

5 Answers 5


Using the ogr Python module from OSGEO, this example will give you a tuple containing the coords that define an envelope for each feature.

from osgeo import ogr

ds = ogr.Open("mn_counties.shp")
lyr = ds.GetLayerByName("mn_counties")


for feat in lyr:
    # get bounding coords in minx, maxx, miny, maxy format
    env = feat.GetGeometryRef().GetEnvelope()
    # get bounding coords in minx, miny, maxx, maxy format
    bbox = [env[0], env[2], env[1], env[3]]
    print env
    print bbox
  • 2
    ... and free geospatial python at that ; /
    – DavidF
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 15:56

One possible way to proceed using SAGA GIS http://www.saga-gis.org After opening your shapefile run these 3 modules: 1. Modules\Shapes\Tools\Get Shapes extent

  1. Modules\Shapes\Tools\Points\Points from lines [contrary to what the name suggest you can also use this to get points from a polygon]

  2. Modules\Shapes\Tools\Points\Add Coordinates to points This will give you a table which contains the x and y coordinates of the 4 corners of the bounding box of your polygon file.


In arcgis, here's python code. result is a list of minx, miny, maxx, maxy, minM, maxM, minZ, maxZ (

import arcpy
for feat in arcpy.SearchCursor(r"c:\data\f.gdb\counties"):
    print feat.Shape.extent

-2.66852727251546 49.4265363633626 -2.52848181818121 49.5079454546192 NaN NaN NaN NaN
-10.463336363782 51.4455454544593 -6.01305454583045 55.3799909091533 NaN NaN NaN NaN
-4.77778181827614 54.0555454544593 -4.35347272688468 54.4100000000002 NaN NaN NaN NaN

Here's an R version, using example data from the rgdal package:

dsn <- system.file("vectors/ps_cant_31.MIF", package = "rgdal")[1]
d <- readOGR(dsn = dsn, layer="ps_cant_31")

## transform if this is not longlat
if (is.projected(d)) d <- spTransform(d, CRS("+proj=longlat +ellps=WGS84"))

for (i in 1:nrow(d)) {

I use fiona and shapely for that kind of tasks:

import fiona
from shapely.geometry import shape

with fiona.open(r'd:\Projects\_00_Data\_USstates\fe_2007_us_state00.shp', 'r') as features:
    for i, feat in enumerate(features):
        geom = shape(feat['geometry'])
        name = feat['properties']['NAME00']
        print ','.join((name,) + tuple([str(i) for i in geom.bounds]))
  • That does NOT provide Lat / Lon .
    – harvpan
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 21:25
  • The output looks like this, those are the lat/lon coordinates: -124.72583900000001,45.544321,-116.915989,49.002494 -82.626182,37.202467,-77.71951899999999,40.638801 -111.056888,40.996345999999996,-104.052287,45.005904 -67.955811,17.913769,-65.22156799999999,18.511706
    – Matej
    Commented Jan 20, 2019 at 2:36

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