I am looking for a way to create a raster grid from a vector map.

I have a map consisting of shapefiles which I want to export as a raster with UTM coordinates. I was thinking of something using the identify tool in QGIS but not really sure how to apply it.

I want a file which has x,y coordinates and feature id as the variables. Does anyone have any suggestions?

3 Answers 3


Since you also have a QGIS tag how about a GDAL solution?

Within QGIS:

  • Via the menubar select ---> Raster > Conversion > Rasterize (raster to vector)
  • Then set your attribute and check the output.

Rasterize whole map within QGIS:

  • Go File -> Save as image, then choose tif. (unfortunately this does not work for map composer)

Via the command line using GDAL:

  • 1
    This also will work only on an individual shapefile (see comments in PolyGeo's ArcGIS answer). If possible, merge the separate shapefiles into one before rasterizing.
    – user3461
    Mar 26, 2013 at 14:06
  • gis.stackexchange.com/a/25006/2695 For info how to do this with GDAL.
    – Jay Laura
    Mar 26, 2013 at 17:00
  • @SS_Rebelious, does the rasterization of the map preserve the FID for each shapefile as the raster value?
    – user3461
    Mar 26, 2013 at 18:37
  • @GeoKevin, no, but in future this topic may be discovered by someone that would not need it and maybe topicstarter will find this functionality useful too. Mar 26, 2013 at 19:03
  • Then perhaps the edit should have been posted as a separate answer, instead of edited into an answer?
    – user3461
    Mar 27, 2013 at 1:55

You have arcgis as one of your tags so I will answer from that perspective.

The tool for converting shapefile features into raster is Feature To Raster.

Alternatively, you may want to consider Exporting your map using one of the supported raster formats.

  • Exporting the map won't result in FID being a variable (value). Feature to Raster will, and will work well for individual shapefiles.
    – user3461
    Mar 26, 2013 at 11:49
  • I have access to arc as well. feature to raster doesn't work as it was only exporting a single feature not all of the features on my map. I can export the map but as I plan on using the raster in matlab coding if I can keep it as a standard (not 3d) matrix it would be a lot easier.
    – Lachlan
    Mar 26, 2013 at 12:00
  • That does not sound right @Lachlan - can you perhaps try it again and if the problem persists detail your exact steps so we can try to reproduce. Do you mean only one feature or perhaps only one feature class?
    – PolyGeo
    Mar 26, 2013 at 12:04
  • 1
    If all shape files have the same geometry type (e.g. lines) you can use Merge tool before Feature To Raster.
    – Jens
    Mar 26, 2013 at 12:11
  • All features are polygons. There are about 5 different shapefiles. Ideally I could export the shapefiles in the same raster. another alternative would be merging the rasters after i have used polygon-raster or feature to raster. But I was hoping for a way of doing it without doing that as I have about 100 maps I need to do this for.
    – Lachlan
    Mar 26, 2013 at 22:02

Within Grass use:

v.to.rast input=name [layer=integer] [type=string[,string,...]] output=name use=string [column=name] [rgbcolumn=name] [labelcolumn=name] [value=float] [rows=integer] [--overwrite] [--verbose] [--quiet] 

You can specify the layer you want to rasterize with layer="...", val=attr and column="...". Have a look at:


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