Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pyshp shapeRecords() Method

The shapefile.Reader.shapeRecords()
method lets you juggle both the
geometry and dbf attributes at the
same time.
The shapefile.Reader.shapeRecords() method is a simple convenience method which allows you to simultaneously loop through both the geometry and records of a shapefile.  Normally  you would loop through the shape records and then loop through the dbf records seperately.  But sometimes it's easier to have both sides of the shapefile equation accessible at the same time.  This ability is important sometimes because the link between geometry and attributes is implied by their order in the file and not explicit which can make referencing one side or the other a pain.  Warning: the current implementation pulls everything into memory at once which can be a problem for very large shapefiles. This weakness will be updated in future versions.

Here’s a simple usage example followed by a detailed explanation and a few other posts where I use this method without much explanation.

Let’s say you have a simple point-location address shapefile named “addr.shp” with the following structure:

[-89.522996, 34.363596] 7018 South 8th Oxford MS 38655
[-89.520695, 34.360863] 1199 South 11th Oxford MS 38655
[-89.520927, 34.362924] 8005 Fillmore Ave Oxford MS 38655

You could then use the shapeRecords method like this:

>>> import shapefile
>>> r = shapefile.Reader(“addr”)
>>> sr = r.shapeRecords()
>>> # get the first shaperecord
>>> sr_test = sr[0]
>>> # Look at the geometry of the shape
>>> sr_test.shape.points
[[-89.522996, 34.363596]]
>>> # Look at the attributes of the dbf record
>>> sr_test.record
[‘7018 South 8’,’Oxford’,’MS’,’38655’]
>>> # Now let’s iterate through all of them
>>> for sr in r.shapeRecords():
...    print “x: “, sr.points[0][0]
...    print “y: “, sr.points[0][1]
...    # Output just the address field
...    print “Address: “, sr.record[0]
x: -89.522996
y: 34.363596
Address: 7018 South 8th
x: -89.520695
y: 34.360863
Address: 1195 South 11th
x: -89.520927
y: 34.362924
Address: 805 Fillmore Ave

Here’s how it works.

The shapeRecords() method returns a list.

Each entry in that list is a _ShapeRecord object instance.

A _ShapeRecord object has two attributes: shape, record

_ShapeRecord.record contains a simple list of the attributes.

_ShapeRecord.shape contains a _Shape object instance.

A _Shape object has, at a minimum, two attributes: shapeType, points

If the _Shape instance contains a polygon a “parts” attribute will appear.  This attribute contains the index in the point list of the beginning of a “part”.  Parts let you store multiple shapes in a single record.

The shapeType attribute provides a number telling you if the shapefile is  a point, polygon, line, etc. file.  These constants are listed in the shapefile spec document as well as near the top of the source code.

The points is just a list containing lists of the point coordinates.  Two things to note:  If the geometry has multiple parts, such as multiple polygons, the points for all parts are just lumped together.  You must separate them by referencing the parts index list.  Some shape types allow for z and m values which may appear in addition to the x,y pairs.

This method is really just a clumsy convenience method that basically zips up the results of the shapes() and records() methods you are already using.

I have a few blog posts where I call this method as well:  (in the comments)

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