I've got a point shapefile which has a single attribute (elevation Z) and there are a lot of duplicate points (several points in the same location but each one has a different Z value). I would like to generate two shapefiles:

  • One in which I get rid of all the duplicates and keep only the point with the highest Z value at each location
  • One in which I get rid of all the duplicates and keep only the point with the lowest Z value at each location

Would there be a way to do this using the "Select by Expression" tool for instance?

enter image description here

  • Have you tried using the minimum() and maximum() expressions with $geometry as a filter?
    – Erik
    Nov 1, 2023 at 16:03
  • So in the minimum() or maximum() functions, if I use the $geometry as a filter, what should I use as a group_by value? I've added an ID column which has a single ID (integer increasing with an increment of 1) so I've got ID and Z as attributes.
    – Sken2107
    Nov 1, 2023 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


Use Select by expression with the following expression, then use Extract Selected Features.

Explanation: The expression uses overlay_nearest() with a very small distance (tolerance value) to get an array of the z values of all points clustered together, then gets the maximum value using array_max(). Check if the current point's z value equals this maximum.

Be aware: it seems you don't have an actual z-value, but an attribute named z. In this case, in the expression replace z($geometry) with "z" (3 times).

array_max(   -- maximum z value (for minimum: replace with array_min)
        overlay_nearest(  -- find all nearby points... 
            @layer,  -- ... from the same layer...
            z($geometry), -- ... get their z values...
            max_distance:=0.01,  -- ... not further distance from current point than this distance
            limit:=-1  -- ...get all points
        z($geometry)  -- add current point to array
  • Thank you for this. I tried this expression but it doesn't select any of the points and tells me "no matching feature(s) found" although I have a lot of overlaying points (duplicates). I also tried reducing or increasing the max_distance in you expression but it's still the same result so no features selected.
    – Sken2107
    Nov 2, 2023 at 9:04
  • Can you provide sample data?
    – Babel
    Nov 2, 2023 at 9:41
  • I've just added an image to my original post which shows typically how my data looks like.
    – Sken2107
    Nov 2, 2023 at 9:52
  • 1
    Your image shows an attribute table with a field named z. But an attribute is not the same as an actual z-value. That might be the problem. Replace z($geometry) in the expression with z three times. Then it should work.
    – Babel
    Nov 2, 2023 at 10:19
  • 1
    Yes, that was the issue, I replaced it by a Z and that now works fine. Thank you!
    – Sken2107
    Nov 2, 2023 at 10:31

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