I'm wondering if there is any way of retrieving the correct file extension for GDAL/OGR drivers. For example, if I do something like

from osgeo import ogr
driver = ogr.GetDriverByName('ESRI Shapefile')

I would like to know what file extension an ESRI Shapefile requires. Of course I could create my own mapping, e.g. using a dictionary, but I would need to fill it manually. Aren't there any other possibilities?

1 Answer 1


Get a handle to the driver, then check its metadata (driver.GetMetadataItem(gdal.DMD_EXTENSIONS)):

from osgeo import gdal

raster_drivers = []
vector_drivers = []

for i in range(gdal.GetDriverCount()):

    drv = gdal.GetDriver(i)
    md = drv.GetMetadata_Dict()
    d = [drv.ShortName, drv.LongName, drv.GetMetadataItem(gdal.DMD_EXTENSIONS)]

    if 'DCAP_RASTER' in md:
    if 'DCAP_VECTOR' in md:  # note "if" not "elif" or "else" as some drivers can handle both raster and vector
  • Works nicely for GDAL, thanks. Could you extend your answer to OGR, too? Based on your answer, I found that it works similarly, with meta = driver.GetMetadata() and meta['DMD_EXTENSION'].
    – s6hebern
    Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 8:33
  • 1
    My answer includes OGR (as of GDAL v2.0 released in 2015). Notice the checks for DCAP_VECTOR? If you're still using the old ogr, get with the times and use gdal.OpenEx to open vector data ;).
    – user2856
    Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 9:38

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