I have the following Python line to execute GDAL's rasterize function on a shapefile

subprocess.call("gdal_rasterize -te {txextent} {tyextent} -tr {resolution} -burn 1 {shapefile} {output_file}.tif")

The {output_file} is the filename of the originally ingested input file.

I'd like to save the output_file to memory, so that I can call it down in another statement later on, for example to upload to an S3 bucket.

How can I do this?

  • Can you do the same in actual Python code without calling a subprocess? Jun 8 at 13:36
  • I haven't figured out how to. The only thing which actually works for me at the moment is subprocess Jun 8 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


Here is some code which should give you an idea of how to do it. For gdal.Rasterize only the first two parameters are required. The rest of the parameters are **kwargs from RasterizeOptions . The **kwargs will be user/project specific.

import gdal

ulx, xsize, rotx, uly, roty, ysize = geotransform # from gdal's GetGeoTransform()
XSize = 100 # Raster size in pixels (columns)
YSize = 100 # Raster size in pixels (rows)
lrx = ulx + (XSize*abs(xsize)) # Calculate the lower right x coordinate
lry = uly - (YSize*abs(ysize)) # Calculate the lower right y coordinate
outMemRas = '/vsimem/raster_name.tif'
shpFilePath = 'shapefile_path.shp'

gdal.Rasterize(outMemRas, shpFilePath,
               width=XSize, height=YSize,
               outputBounds=[ulx, lry, lrx, uly],
shapeRasDS = gdal.Open(outMemRas) # Open raster file in memory with gdal
shape_arr = shapeRasDS.ReadAsArray() # Read into numpy array
gdal.Unlink(outMemRas) # remove file from memory

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