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Note: A new GRASS GIS stable version has been released: GRASS GIS 7.4, available here.
Updated manual page: here


v.import - Imports vector data into a GRASS vector map using OGR library and reprojects on the fly.


vector, import, projection


v.import --help
v.import [-flo] input=name [layer=string[,string,...]] [output=name] [extent=string] [encoding=string] [snap=float] [epsg=integer] [datum_trans=integer] [--overwrite] [--help] [--verbose] [--quiet] [--ui]


List supported OGR formats and exit
List available OGR layers in data source and exit
Override projection check (use current location's projection)
Assume that the dataset has same projection as the current location
Allow output files to overwrite existing files
Print usage summary
Verbose module output
Quiet module output
Force launching GUI dialog


input=name [required]
Name of OGR datasource to be imported
OGR layer name. If not given, all available layers are imported
Name for output vector map (default: input)
Output vector map extent
Options: input, region
Default: input
input: extent of input map
region: extent of current region
Encoding value for attribute data
Snapping threshold for boundaries (map units)
'-1' for no snap
Default: 1e-13
EPSG projection code
Options: 1-1000000
Index number of datum transform parameters
-1 to list available datum transform parameters
Options: -1-100

Table of contents


v.import imports vector data from files and database connections supported by the OGR library) into the current location and mapset. If the projection of the input does not match the projection of the location, the input is reprojected into the current location. In case that the projection of the input map does match the projection of the location, the input is imported directly.

Supported Vector Formats

v.import uses the OGR library which supports various vector data formats including ESRI Shapefile, Mapinfo File, UK .NTF, SDTS, TIGER, IHO S-57 (ENC), DGN, GML, GPX, AVCBin, REC, Memory, OGDI, and PostgreSQL, depending on the local OGR installation. For details see the OGR web site. The OGR (Simple Features Library) is part of the GDAL library, hence GDAL needs to be installed to use

The list of actually supported formats can be printed by -f flag.


v.import checks the projection metadata of the dataset to be imported against the current location's projection. If not identical a related error message is shown.
To override this projection check (i.e. to use current location's projection) by assuming that the dataset has the same projection as the current location the -o flag can be used. This is also useful when geodata to be imported do not contain any projection metadata at all. The user must be sure that the projection is identical in order to avoid to introduce data errors.

Topology cleaning

When importing polygons, non-topological polygons are converted to topological areas. By default, a very small snapping threshold is applied (1e-13 map units) to avoid topological errors caused by numerical inaccuracy of the input data format. If the original polygons contain errors (unexpected overlapping areas or small gaps between polygons), the import might need to be repeated using a larger snap value.

The snap threshold defines the maximal distance from one to another vertex in map units (for latitude-longitude locations in degree). If there is no other vertex within snap distance, no snapping will be done. Note that a too large value can severely damage area topology, beyond repair.

Post-processing: Snapped boundaries may need to be cleaned with v.clean, using its tools break,rmdupl,rmsa. For details, refer to the v.clean manual page.


# import SHAPE file at full extent and reproject to current location projection
v.import input=research_area.shp output=research_area extent=input


v.clean,, v.proj


Markus Metz
Improvements: Martin Landa, Anna Petrasova

Last changed: $Date: 2017-03-12 07:35:42 -0700 (Sun, 12 Mar 2017) $


Available at: v.import source code (history)

Note: A new GRASS GIS stable version has been released: GRASS GIS 7.4, available here.
Updated manual page: here

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© 2003-2018 GRASS Development Team, GRASS GIS 7.0.7svn Reference Manual