Sean Gillies


Seth Girvin


sethg at geographika.co.uk

Last Updated:



The MapScript HowTo docs are intended to complement the API reference with examples of usage for specific subjects. All examples in this document refer to the Mapfile and testing layers distributed with MapServer and found in source control under Mapserver/tests.

The examples below are written in Python. All MapScript languages use the same API, but will need to be rewritten using the relevant language’s syntax. Querying Overview

The Query Result Set

Map layers can be queried to select features using spatial query methods or the attribute query method. Ignoring for the moment whether we are executing a spatial or attribute query, results are obtained like so:

# for any query to be successful it needs to have a template
# set - any value here will do
if not layer.template:
    layer_obj.template = "ttt"

layer.query()                                 # not an actual method!
results = layer.getResults()

In the case of a failed query or query with zero results, layerObj.getResults() returns NULL.

Result Set Members

Individual members of the query results are obtained like:

if results:
    for i in range(results.numresults):       # iterate over results
        result = results.getResult(i)

This mapscript.resultObj is a handle, of sorts, for a feature of the layer, having resultObj.shapeindex and resultObj.tileindex attributes that can be used as arguments to layerObj.getShape().

Resulting Features

The previous example code can now be extended to the case of obtaining all queried features:

layer.template = "FAKE"
layer.queryByAttributes(test_map, "FID", '"1"', mapscript.MS_MULTIPLE)
results = layer.getResults()

if results:
    # open layer in preparation of reading shapes

    for i in range(results.numresults):
        result = results.getResult(i)
        shape = layer.getShape(result)

        # get the value of the attribute at index 1

    # close when done

Attribute Queries

By Attributes

Use layerObj.queryByAttributes() for querying by attribute. Note attributes are strings.

# select by feature Id
layer.queryByAttributes(test_map, "FID", "1", mapscript.MS_MULTIPLE)

# select by a string attribute, returning a single result
layer.queryByAttributes(test_map, "FNAME", "A Polygon", mapscript.MS_SINGLE)

Spatial Queries

By Rectangle

Use layerObj.queryByRect() for querying using a bounding-box. MS_MULTIPLE is set by default.

qrect = mapscript.rectObj(-10.0, 45.0, 10.0, 55.0)
layer.queryByRect(test_map, qrect)

By Point

Use layerObj.queryByPoint() for querying using a point. The point can also be buffered.

qpoint = mapscript.pointObj(0.0, 51.5)
layer.queryByPoint(test_map, qpoint, mapscript.MS_MULTIPLE, 2.0)

By Shape

Use layerObj.queryByShape() for querying using a shape.

qrect = mapscript.rectObj(-10.0, 45.0, 10.0, 55.0)
qshape = qrect.toPolygon()
self.layer.queryByShape(self.map, qshape)

By Selection

Use layerObj.queryByFeatures() for querying using results from another layer.