I'm using GDAL (3.3.1) Python (3.8.11) bindings to process vector layers and am trying to use OGR SQL dialect to filter the layer, like this:

    sql = f"SELECT * from {out_lyr.GetName()} WHERE OGR_GEOM_AREA < {area_threshold}"
    out_lyr_selection = out_ds.ExecuteSQL(sql)

This works fine on FileGDB and Shapefile, when I try to use it on GeoPackage it gives the following error.

RuntimeError: In ExecuteSQL(): sqlite3_prepare_v2(SELECT * from merged WHERE OGR_GEOM_AREA < 20.0):
  no such column: OGR_GEOM_AREA

This post suggests I should use "indirect_sqlite" dialect, so I checked the OGR doc page. It suggested this would work:

    sql = f"SELECT * from {out_lyr.GetName()} WHERE ST_Area(GEOMETRY) < {area_threshold}"
    out_lyr_selection = out_ds.ExecuteSQL(sql, dialect="indirect_sqlite")

However, this time the error was:

RuntimeError: In ExecuteSQL(): sqlite3_prepare_v2(SELECT * from merged WHERE ST_Area(GEOMETRY) < 20.0):
  no such column: GEOMETRY

Am I doing something wrong, or is it not possible to use OGR SQL dialect to filter by area with GeoPackage?

1 Answer 1


For OGR SQL use dialect="OGRSQL". It is the default SQL dialect but only when the datasource has no support for a native SQL dialect. Therefore if you read PostGIS, SpatiaLite, GeoPackage, Oracle etc. you must explicitly select the ORG SQL dialect.

When using indirect_sqlite dialect pay attention to error message no such column: GEOMETRY. Check the real name of the geometry column with ogrinfo. It can be whatever but quite often you will see

Geometry Column = geom

  • Awesome, thanks. It was the dialect name I was missing - was trying "OGR SQL". If the correct name is written in the doc somewhere, I haven't found it. Also I didn't know about the geometry column name in ogrinfo - that's very handy.
    – jon_two
    Oct 27, 2021 at 9:21
  • 1
    Geometry name is reported if format allows to select it so it applies to database formats and XML/GML. The keywords of dialects are not really well enough documented in the documentation about SQL. Consider to help be pressing the "Edit on GitHub" button in gdal.org/user/ogr_sql_dialect.html#ogr-sql-dialect and gdal.org/user/sql_sqlite_dialect.html. Adding the right keywords to use, emphasized as in the ogr2ogr documentation gdal.org/programs/ogr2ogr.html#cmdoption-ogr2ogr-dialect would help other users in the future.
    – user30184
    Oct 27, 2021 at 9:36

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