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I have one shapefile that is railroad lines (in red) and another that is a shapefile of US county boundaries in 1890 and I would like to figure out which counties have railroads versus counties that do not (so the intersection between the two layers) to be able to create an 0-1 indicator for a county having a railroad or not and I have not been able to figure out how to do this in QGIS.

I am at a very novice level.

2 Answers 2

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  1. Open the attribute table of your county layer
  2. Field calculate a new field (Whole Number (int) type) with the expression: overlay_intersects( layer:='railroads'), replace railroads, with the name of your railroad layer. It will return True when there's a railroad intersecting the polygon, else False. This will be saved as 1 or 0 in the integer field: enter image description here
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You could manually create the attribute in the polygon layer in the attribute layer

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Then use select by location tool. Use polygon layer to be selected, using the "intersect" predicate and compare with line layer.

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Then open the polygon attribute table, select the layer you want to change, type the value you want to put and press to refresh selected only.

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