I have a shapefile with a large grid of rectangular polygons (approximately 6M polygons) and I would like to pull an attribute value from a polygon in this set based on an arbitrary point (x,y) somewhere within the extents of these polygons; e.g., for the point (xi,yi) the 'value' would be in some polygon Pn.

I am uncertain where to start - I have another project where I used the rasterio.sample() method to get a raster value at a specific point so, I feel like some similar approach would be applicable to look through the polygon space...

Any pointers?


2 Answers 2


Create a point df using gpd.points_from_xy and then spatial join. It is very fast:

import geopandas as gpd
from sqlalchemy import create_engine as ce
con = ce("postgresql://postgres@localhost:5432/data")
sql = "select * from test.grid_2e6"

grid = gpd.read_postgis(sql=sql, con=con)
#(1981926, 2)

#    id                                               geom
# 0   1  POLYGON ((244550.000 6110830.000, 244550.000 6...
# 1   2  POLYGON ((244550.000 6111560.000, 244550.000 6...

y, x = 6922071.8,470881.6
point = gpd.GeoDataFrame(geometry=gpd.points_from_xy(x=[x], y=[y]), crs=grid.crs)
#                          geometry
# 0  POINT (470881.600 6922071.800)

sj = gpd.sjoin(left_df=point, right_df=grid, how="left", rsuffix="grid_")
#                          geometry  index_grid_      id
# 0  POINT (470881.600 6922071.800)       663891  663892
  • 1
    spatial join turned out to be the approach I needed! Thank you. (the Geopackage suggestion below was also very helpful for the initial loading of data)
    – Jimbobauer
    Dec 9, 2023 at 15:42

Depending on what you need exactly, geopandas also supports immediate filtering on the file. If you only need the row(s) for one or some points (the mask can also be a GeoDataFrame with multiple points), this will be faster than reading the entire file.

When using a file type with a proper spatial index like e.g. Geopackage this will be even faster (100x). Timings using a file of ~380 MB with ~500.000 (more complex) polygons on a Windows PC.

from datetime import datetime
import geopandas as gpd
from shapely import Point

start = datetime.now()
df = gpd.read_file("C:/Temp/prc2023/prc2023.shp", mask=Point(150000, 185000))
print(f"read .shp, found {len(df)} rows, took {datetime.now() - start}")

start = datetime.now()
df = gpd.read_file("C:/Temp/prc2023/prc2023.gpkg", mask=Point(150000, 185000))
print(f"read .gpkg, found {len(df)} rows, took {datetime.now() - start}")


read .shp, found 1 rows, took 0:00:04.417004
read .gpkg, found 1 rows, took 0:00:00.057872
  • Thank you - this was very helpful
    – Jimbobauer
    Dec 9, 2023 at 15:42

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