Fiona reads and writes spatial data files

gis, vector, feature, data, cli, cython, gdal, ogr, python
pip install Fiona==1.8.14



Fiona reads and writes geographic data files and thereby helps Python programmers integrate geographic information systems with other computer systems. Fiona contains extension modules that link the Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL).

Fiona is designed to be simple and dependable. It focuses on reading and writing data in standard Python IO style and relies upon familiar Python types and protocols such as files, dictionaries, mappings, and iterators instead of classes specific to GDAL's OpenGIS Reference Implementation (OGR). Fiona can read and write real-world data using multi-layered GIS formats and zipped virtual file systems and integrates readily with other Python GIS packages such as pyproj, Rtree, and Shapely.

Fiona is supported only on CPython versions 3.6+.

Why the name "Fiona"? Because Fiona Is OGR's Neat and Nimble API for Python programmers. And a Shrek reference made us laugh.

For more details, see:

For support and help:

For project discussions, see:



Records are read from and written to file-like Collection objects returned from the function. Records are mappings modeled on the GeoJSON format. They don't have any spatial methods of their own, so if you want to do anything fancy with them you will probably need Shapely or something like it. Here is an example of using Fiona to read some records from one data file, change their geometry attributes, and write them to a new data file.

import fiona

# Open a file for reading. We'll call this the "source."

with'tests/data/coutwildrnp.shp') as src:

    # The file we'll write to, the "destination", must be initialized
    # with a coordinate system, a format driver name, and
    # a record schema.  We can get initial values from the open
    # collection's ``meta`` property and then modify them as
    # desired.

    meta = src.meta
    meta['schema']['geometry'] = 'Point'

    # Open an output file, using the same format driver and
    # coordinate reference system as the source. The ``meta``
    # mapping fills in the keyword parameters of

    with'test_write.shp', 'w', **meta) as dst:

        # Process only the records intersecting a box.
        for f in src.filter(bbox=(-107.0, 37.0, -105.0, 39.0)):

            # Get a point on the boundary of the record's
            # geometry.

            f['geometry'] = {
                'type': 'Point',
                'coordinates': f['geometry']['coordinates'][0][0]}

            # Write the record out.


# The destination's contents are flushed to disk and the file is
# closed when its ``with`` block ends. This effectively
# executes ``dst.flush(); dst.close()``.

Reading Multilayer data

Collections can also be made from single layers within multilayer files or directories of data. The target layer is specified by name or by its integer index within the file or directory. The fiona.listlayers() function provides an index ordered list of layer names.

for layername in fiona.listlayers('tests/data'):
    with'tests/data', layer=layername) as src:
        print(layername, len(src))

# Output:
# ('coutwildrnp', 67)

Layer can also be specified by index. In this case, layer=0 and layer='test_uk' specify the same layer in the data file or directory.

for i, layername in enumerate(fiona.listlayers('tests/data')):
    with'tests/data', layer=i) as src:
        print(i, layername, len(src))

# Output:
# (0, 'coutwildrnp', 67)

Writing Multilayer data

Multilayer data can be written as well. Layers must be specified by name when writing.

with open('tests/data/cowildrnp.shp') as src:
    meta = src.meta
    f = next(src)

with'/tmp/foo', 'w', layer='bar', **meta) as dst:


with'/tmp/foo', layer='bar') as src:
    f = next(src)

    # Output:
    # ['bar']
    # 1
    # Polygon
    # OrderedDict([('PERIMETER', 1.22107), ('FEATURE2', None), ('NAME', 'Mount Naomi Wilderness'), ('FEATURE1', 'Wilderness'), ('URL', ''), ('AGBUR', 'FS'), ('AREA', 0.0179264), ('STATE_FIPS', '49'), ('WILDRNP020', 332), ('STATE', 'UT')])

A view of the /tmp/foo directory will confirm the creation of the new files.

$ ls /tmp/foo
bar.cpg bar.dbf bar.prj bar.shp bar.shx

Collections from archives and virtual file systems

Zip and Tar archives can be treated as virtual filesystems and Collections can be made from paths and layers within them. In other words, Fiona lets you read and write zipped Shapefiles.

for i, layername in enumerate(fiona.listlayers('zip://tests/data/')):
    with'zip://tests/data/', layer=i) as src:
        print(i, layername, len(src))

# Output:
# (0, 'coutwildrnp', 67)

Fiona can also read from more exotic file systems. For instance, a zipped shape file in S3 can be accessed like so:

with'zip+s3://mapbox/rasterio/') as src:

# Output:
# 67

Fiona CLI

Fiona's command line interface, named "fio", is documented at docs/cli.rst. Its fio info pretty prints information about a data file.

$ fio info --indent 2 tests/data/coutwildrnp.shp
  "count": 67,
  "crs": "EPSG:4326",
  "driver": "ESRI Shapefile",
  "bounds": [
  "schema": {
    "geometry": "Polygon",
    "properties": {
      "PERIMETER": "float:24.15",
      "FEATURE2": "str:80",
      "NAME": "str:80",
      "FEATURE1": "str:80",
      "URL": "str:101",
      "AGBUR": "str:80",
      "AREA": "float:24.15",
      "STATE_FIPS": "str:80",
      "WILDRNP020": "int:10",
      "STATE": "str:80"


Fiona requires Python versions 3.6+ and GDAL version 1.11-3.0. To build from a source distribution you will need a C compiler and GDAL and Python development headers and libraries (libgdal1-dev for Debian/Ubuntu, gdal-dev for CentOS/Fedora).

To build from a repository copy, you will also need Cython to build C sources from the project's .pyx files. See the project's requirements-dev.txt file for guidance.

The Kyngchaos GDAL frameworks will satisfy the GDAL/OGR dependency for OS X, as will Homebrew's GDAL Formula (brew install gdal).

Python Requirements

Fiona depends on the modules six, cligj, and munch. Pip will fetch these requirements for you, but users installing Fiona from a Windows installer must get them separately.

Unix-like systems

Assuming you're using a virtualenv (if not, skip to the 4th command) and GDAL/OGR libraries, headers, and gdal-config program are installed to well known locations on your system via your system's package manager (brew install gdal using Homebrew on OS X), installation is this simple.

$ mkdir fiona_env
$ virtualenv fiona_env
$ source fiona_env/bin/activate
(fiona_env)$ pip install fiona

If gdal-config is not available or if GDAL/OGR headers and libs aren't installed to a well known location, you must set include dirs, library dirs, and libraries options via the setup.cfg file or setup command line as shown below (using git). You must also specify the version of the GDAL API on the command line using the --gdalversion argument (see example below) or with the GDAL_VERSION environment variable (e.g. export GDAL_VERSION=2.1).

(fiona_env)$ git clone git://
(fiona_env)$ cd Fiona
(fiona_env)$ python build_ext -I/path/to/gdal/include -L/path/to/gdal/lib -lgdal install --gdalversion 2.1

Or specify that build options and GDAL API version should be provided by a particular gdal-config program.

(fiona_env)$ GDAL_CONFIG=/path/to/gdal-config pip install fiona


Binary installers are available at and coming eventually to PyPI.

You can download a binary distribution of GDAL from here. You will also need to download the compiled libraries and headers (include files).

When building from source on Windows, it is important to know that cannot rely on gdal-config, which is only present on UNIX systems, to discover the locations of header files and libraries that Fiona needs to compile its C extensions. On Windows, these paths need to be provided by the user. You will need to find the include files and the library files for gdal and use as follows. You must also specify the version of the GDAL API on the command line using the --gdalversion argument (see example below) or with the GDAL_VERSION environment variable (e.g. set GDAL_VERSION=2.1).

$ python build_ext -I<path to gdal include files> -lgdal_i -L<path to gdal library> install --gdalversion 2.1
$ set GDAL_VERSION=3.0
$ pip install --install-option=build_ext --install-option="-I<drive letter>:\\<path to gdal include files>\\include" --install-option="-lgdal_i" --install-option="-L<drive letter>:\\<path to gdal lib files>\\libs" fiona

Note: The following environment variables needs to be set so that Fiona works correctly:

  • The directory containing the GDAL DLL (gdal304.dll or similar) needs to be in your Windows PATH (e.g. C:\gdal\bin).
  • The gdal-data directory needs to be in your Windows PATH or the environment variable GDAL_DATA must be set (e.g. C:\gdal\bin\gdal-data).
  • The environment variable PROJ_LIB must be set to the proj library directory (e.g. C:\gdal\bin\proj6\share)

The Appveyor CI build uses the GISInternals GDAL binaries to build Fiona. This produces a binary wheel for successful builds, which includes GDAL and other dependencies, for users wanting to try an unstable development version. The Appveyor configuration file may be a useful example for users building from source on Windows.


The primary forum for questions about installation and usage of Fiona is The authors and other users will answer questions when they have expertise to share and time to explain. Please take the time to craft a clear question and be patient about responses.

Please do not bring these questions to Fiona's issue tracker, which we want to reserve for bug reports and other actionable issues.

Development and testing

Building from the source requires Cython. Tests require pytest. If the GDAL/OGR libraries, headers, and gdal-config program are installed to well known locations on your system (via your system's package manager), you can do this:

(fiona_env)$ git clone git://
(fiona_env)$ cd Fiona
(fiona_env)$ pip install cython
(fiona_env)$ pip install -e .[test]
(fiona_env)$ py.test

Or you can use the pep-518-install script:

(fiona_env)$ git clone git://
(fiona_env)$ cd Fiona
(fiona_env)$ ./pep-518-install

If you have a non-standard environment, you'll need to specify the include and lib dirs and GDAL library on the command line:

(fiona_env)$ python build_ext -I/path/to/gdal/include -L/path/to/gdal/lib -lgdal --gdalversion 2 develop
(fiona_env)$ py.test