Python Libraries for Geospatial 2

This article is a continuation (second part) of the previous article on Python Libraries for Geospatial which highlights additional Python libraries that are, and acen be used in GIS development. The libraries are as follows:


The Remote Sensing and GIS software library (RSGISLib) is a collection of tools, provided as a set of Python modules and command line utilities for processing remote sensing and GIS datasets. RSGISLib contains a number of algorithms for processing and analysing remote sensing data that are the product of research carried out by the authors and their collaborators.

The main goal of RSGISLib was to make it easier to develop code for working with Remote Sensing and GIS data. Some functionalities provided by this library include:

  • Image segmentation:  The process of partitioning an image into meaningful and homogeneous regions based on their spectral, spatial, or textural characteristics. It includes preprocessing, feature extraction, validation and accuracy assessment among others.

  • Object-based classification: An approach that involves grouping pixels into meaningful objects or regions based on their spectral, spatial, and contextual characteristics, and then classifying those objects into different land cover or land use categories. This takes into account the spatial relationships and contextual information among neighboring pixels. Procedures under this include feature extraction, training classifiers, and accuracy assessment etc.

  • Image-to-image registration: Includes aligning two or more images of the same scene so that they can be analyzed together. This is a common task in remote sensing, where multiple images of the same area are often taken from different sensors (satellite) or at different times. This may include feature-based registration, intensity-based registration or hybrid registration.

  • Image filtering: This includes applying a mathematical operation to an image to enhance or modify its characteristics. In remote sensing, image filtering is often used to improve the quality of images, to enhance specific features, or to remove noise.

  • Zonal statistics: This is the process of computing statistical summaries or measurements within predefined zones or regions of interest (ROIs) in a remote sensing image. The zones can be defined based on administrative boundaries, land cover types, or any other delineations of interest.

More detail on RSGISLib can be read in their documentation or public code repository.


In Jupyter notebooks and JupyterLab, the Python package ipyleaflet offers interactive and interactive mapping features. It is based on the widely used JavaScript package Leaflet, which is used to build interactive maps for the web. One may use widgets and events to interact with the map and view geospatial data with ipyleaflet. Additional features include the ability to overlay different layers, such as markers, polygons, and raster pictures. Some of the key features and functionalities of ipyleaflet include:

  • Map Display: Supports creating interactive maps within Jupyter notebooks and JupyterLab. You can display maps at different zoom levels, pan across the map, and change the basemap style.
  • Interactive Widgets: It supports interactive widgets that can be used to control map parameters and provide user input. For example, you can use sliders, checkboxes, and dropdowns to dynamically update map features or perform actions based on user selections.
  • Sharing and Exporting: ipyleaflet allows one to export the interactive maps created in Jupyter notebooks as standalone HTML files, making it easy to share and embed them in web pages or presentations.
  • GeoJSON Handling: The library provides support for working with GeoJSON and TopoJSON data formats.

An example of ipyleaflet at work is shown below.

Selecting a basemap for a leaflet map

The Jupyter environment is made powerful and user-friendly by the ipyleaflet package, which enables data visualization, spatial analysis, and exploration of geospatial datasets.


A well-liked Python library for machine learning is sckit-learn. Despite not being created primarily for geospatial analysis, scikit-learn might nonetheless be useful in geospatial applications for some tasks. Both supervised and unsupervised learning are supported by this open source machine learning library. Additionally, it offers a number of tools for data preprocessing, model selection, model evaluation, and many other utilities.


Applications of sckit-learn in GIS includes:

  • Classification and Regression: Numerous classification and regression algorithms are available in Scikit-learn that can be used with geographical data. For example, you can classify land cover, predict agricultural yield, or examine geographical patterns using techniques like Decision Trees, Random Forests, Support Vector Machines (SVM), or Gradient Boosting.
  • Feature Extraction and Dimensionality Reduction: Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and feature selection are two examples of the numerous feature extraction and dimensionality reduction techniques available in Scikit-learn. These methods may be helpful for extracting pertinent features from geographic datasets, lowering their dimensionality, or displaying highly dimensional data.
  • Clustering and Unsupervised Learning: The clustering methods offered by Scikit-learn can be used to find spatial patterns or group related objects in geospatial data. These algorithms include K-means, DBSCAN, and hierarchical clustering. Techniques for unsupervised learning can be used to find groups of comparable land cover types.
  • Model Evaluation and Validation: Scikit-learn provides a number of tools for model assessment and validation, including cross-validation strategies, approaches for hyperparameter tuning, and metrics for measuring model performance. These instruments can be used to examine generalization capacities, fine-tune model parameters, and measure the correctness and dependability of geographic models.
  • Integration with Other Libraries: In order to perform geographic data preparation, feature extraction, or visualization, cikit-learn can be integrated with additional geospatial libraries like GeoPandas, rasterio, or GDAL. Scikit-learn and geospatial libraries can be combined to successfully analyze and model geographic datasets by combining their respective strengths.

If you are interested in learning more about scikit-learn, I recommend checking out the following resources:

  • Documentation: The scikit-learn documentation is a good place to start learning about the library. It includes tutorials, examples, and API documentation.
  • Tutorials: There are a number of tutorials available online that can help you get started with scikit-learn. These tutorials cover a variety of topics, such as supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and dimensionality reduction.
  • Examples: The scikit-learn website includes a number of examples that you can use to learn about the library. These examples cover a variety of topics, such as classification, regression, clustering, and dimensionality reduction.
  • Community: The scikit-learn community is very active and helpful. If you have any questions, you can post them on the scikit-learn forum or chat room.

Despite the fact that scikit-learn offers strong machine learning capabilities, it's vital to remember that geographical data frequently have distinctive properties and need for specialized geospatial methods and libraries. There may be domain-specific libraries and tools available for particular geographical tasks.


There are multiple Python libraries supporting geospatial operations out there. Some that are note explained in the two articles but worth checking them out include Imageio, GeoPlot, RasterStats, Mapnik, and Pyproj. In conclusion, Python has emerged as the best candidate when it comes to geographic information systems (GIS) and this is due to the fact that it has a rich ecosystem of GIS tools, widely active Open Source Community, it is versatile and integrates well with both enterprise and open source GIS software. Overall, Python's extensive geospatial libraries, open-source nature, versatility, ease of use, and integration capabilities make it a powerful and widely adopted language for geospatial operations. It empowers geospatial analysts and developers to perform a wide range of tasks, from basic data manipulation to complex spatial analysis, in an efficient and flexible manner.

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Published: March 24, 2023

python gis
Fundamentals GIS Python