I am writing a shapefile after some processing; however, in the final step I need to do some selection by attributes from the the shapefile.

I am using the command in a shell with the aim of using it in a Python script when it works.

ogr2ogr -f "ESRI Shapefile" -select * where ID="1" outfile.shp infile.shp

I am getting the error message:

Unable to open datasource `Downloads' with the following drivers.

What could I be doing wrong?

  • Is that really the exact message for that command?
    – BradHards
    Nov 14, 2013 at 10:02

1 Answer 1


You miss a minus sign before where and the select is not necessary, so it should be:

ogr2ogr -where ID="1" outfile.shp infile.shp

or if you have to do more complex query on your input data:

ogr2ogr -sql "SELECT * FROM infile WHERE ID='1'" outfile.shp infile.shp

If ID is a field of Integer type, substitute ID='1' with ID=1.


  1. If using GDAL < 2.3,-f "ESRI Shapefile" is not necessary because "ESRI Shapefile" is the ogr2ogr default output format; If using GDAL >= 2.3, the format is guessed from the extension.
  2. it's convenient to skip -select and use directly the -where clause when you want to select all the fields.
  • 2
    Many thanks it works. I am using: ogr2ogr -where "ID='1'" output.shp input.shp Nov 14, 2013 at 10:12
  • 1
    How can I use this code : ogr2ogr -sql "SELECT * FROM infile WHERE ID='1'" outfile.shp infile.shp" in python? Aug 11, 2016 at 10:50
  • 2
    @ShiuliPervin you can use the statement in python by using os.system('''ogr2ogr ... ''') . be sure to import os at the top of your python script
    – geoeye
    Aug 29, 2016 at 22:08
  • 1
    @afalciano, for the statement ogr2ogr -sql "SELECT * FROM infile WHERE ID='1'" outfile.shp infile.shp instead of just ID=1 is there a way to provide a vector or a set of numbers instead, e.g. ogr2ogr -sql "SELECT * FROM infile WHERE ID IN ['1','5','29']" outfile.shp infile.shp?
    – h.l.m
    May 11, 2017 at 17:16
  • 1
    @h.l.m First question: you have to type numbers as numbers, so your example should be ogr2ogr -sql "SELECT * FROM infile WHERE ID IN [1,5,29]" outfile.shp infile.shp Second question: to get the coordinates of the selected geometry without creating another shp: ogrinfo -sql "SELECT OGR_GEOMETRY FROM infile WHERE ID IN [1,5,29]" infile.shp May 15, 2017 at 8:43

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