The catalog module allows for users to retrieve information, query, and write to/from GeoTrellis layers.

Before begining, all examples in this guide need the following boilerplate code:

curl -o /tmp/cropped.tif
import datetime
import geopyspark as gps
import numpy as np

from pyspark import SparkContext
from shapely.geometry import MultiPolygon, box

conf = gps.geopyspark_conf(master="local[*]", appName="layers")
pysc = SparkContext(conf=conf)

# Setting up the Spatial Data to be used in this example

spatial_raster_layer = gps.geotiff.get(layer_type=gps.LayerType.SPATIAL, uri="/tmp/cropped.tif")
spatial_tiled_layer = spatial_raster_layer.tile_to_layout(layout=gps.GlobalLayout(), target_crs=3857)

# Setting up the Spatial-Temporal Data to be used in this example

def make_raster(x, y, v, cols=4, rows=4, crs=4326):
    cells = np.zeros((1, rows, cols), dtype='float32')
    # extent of a single cell is 1
    extent = gps.TemporalProjectedExtent(extent = gps.Extent(x, y, x + cols, y + rows),

    return (extent, gps.Tile.from_numpy_array(cells))

layer = [
    make_raster(0, 0, v=1),
    make_raster(3, 2, v=2),
    make_raster(6, 0, v=3)

rdd = pysc.parallelize(layer)
space_time_raster_layer = gps.RasterLayer.from_numpy_rdd(gps.LayerType.SPACETIME, rdd)
space_time_tiled_layer = space_time_raster_layer.tile_to_layout(layout=gps.GlobalLayout(tile_size=5))
space_time_pyramid = space_time_tiled_layer.pyramid()

What is a Catalog?

A catalog is a directory where saved layers and their attributes are organized and stored in a certain manner. Within a catalog, there can exist multiple layers from different data sets. Each of these layers, in turn, are their own directories which contain two folders: one where the data is stored and the other for the metadata. The data for each layer is broken up into zoom levels and each level has its own folder within the data folder of the layer. As for the metadata, it is also broken up by zoom level and is stored as json files within the metadata folder.

Here’s an example directory structure of a catalog:


Accessing Data

GeoPySpark supports a number of different backends to save and read information from. These are the currently supported backends:

  • LocalFileSystem
  • HDFS
  • S3
  • Cassandra
  • HBase
  • Accumulo

Each of these needs to be accessed via the URI for the given system. Here are example URIs for each:

  • Local Filesystem: file://my_folder/my_catalog/
  • HDFS: hdfs://my_folder/my_catalog/
  • S3: s3://my_bucket/my_catalog/
  • Cassandra: cassandra://[user:password@]zookeeper[:port][/keyspace][?attributes=table1[&layers=table2]]
  • HBase: hbase://zookeeper[:port][?master=host][?attributes=table1[&layers=table2]]
  • Accumulo: accumulo://[user[:password]@]zookeeper/instance-name[?attributes=table1[&layers=table2]]

It is important to note that neither HBase nor Accumulo have native support for URIs. Thus, GeoPySpark uses its own pattern for these two systems.

A Note on Formatting Tiles

A small, but important, note needs to be made about how tiles that are saved and/or read in are formatted in GeoPySpark. All tiles will be treated as a MultibandTile. Regardless if they were one to begin with. This was a design choice that was made to simplify both the backend and the API of GeoPySpark.

Saving Data to a Backend

The write() function will save a given TiledRasterLayer to a specified backend. If the catalog does not exist when calling this function, then it will be created along with the saved layer.

Note: It is not possible to save a layer to a catalog if the layer name and zoom already exist. If you wish to overwrite an existing, saved layer then it must be deleted before writing the new one.

Note: Saving a TiledRasterLayer that does not have a zoom_level will save the layer to a zoom of 0. Thus, when it is read back out from the catalog, the resulting TiledRasterLayer will have a zoom_level of 0.

Saving a Spatial Layer

Saving a spatial layer is a straight forward task. All that needs to be supplied is a URI, the name of the layer, and the layer to be saved.

# The zoom level which will be saved
# This will create a catalog called, "spatial-catalog" in the /tmp directory.
# Within it, a layer named, "spatial-layer" will be saved.
gps.write(uri='file:///tmp/spatial-catalog', layer_name='spatial-layer', tiled_raster_layer=spatial_tiled_layer)

Saving a Spatial Temporal Layer

When saving a spatial-temporal layer, one needs to consider how the records within the catalog will be spaced; which in turn, determines the resolution of index. The TimeUnit enum class contains all available units of time that can be used to space apart data in the catalog.

# The zoom level which will be saved
# This will create a catalog called, "spacetime-catalog" in the /tmp directory.
# Within it, a layer named, "spacetime-layer" will be saved and each indice will be spaced apart by SECONDS

Saving a Pyramid

For those that are unfamiliar with the Pyramid class, please see the Pyramid section of the visualization guide. Otherwise, please continue on.

As of right now, there is no way to directly save a Pyramid. However, because a Pyramid is just a collection of TiledRasterLayers of different zooms, it is possible to iterate through the layers of the Pyramid and save one individually.

for zoom, layer in space_time_pyramid.levels.items():
    # Because we've already written a layer of the same name to the same catalog with a zoom level of 7,
    # we will skip writing the level 7 layer.
    if zoom != 7:

Reading Metadata From a Saved Layer

It is possible to retrieve the Metadata for a layer without reading in the whole layer. This is done using the read_layer_metadata() function. There is no difference between spatial and spatial-temporal layers when using this function.

# Metadata from the TiledRasterLayer
# Reads the Metadata from the spatial-layer of the spatial-catalog for zoom level 11

Reading a Tile From a Saved Layer

One can read a single tile that has been saved to a layer using the read_value() function. This will either return a Tile or None depending on whether or not the specified tile exists.

Reading a Tile From a Saved, Spatial Layer

# The Tile being read will be the smallest key of the layer
min_key = spatial_tiled_layer.layer_metadata.bounds.minKey


Reading a Tile From a Saved, Spatial-Temporal Layer

# The Tile being read will be the largest key of the layer
max_key = space_time_tiled_layer.layer_metadata.bounds.maxKey


Reading a Layer

There are two ways one can read a layer in GeoPySpark: reading the entire layer or just portions of it. The former will be the goal discussed in this section. While all of the layer will be read, the function for doing so is called, query(). There is no difference between spatial and spatial-temporal layers when using this function.

Note: What distinguishes between a full and partial read is the parameters given to query. If no filters were given, then the whole layer is read.

# Returns the entire layer that was at zoom level 11.

Querying a Layer

When only a certain section of the layer is of interest, one can retrieve these areas of the layer through the query method. The resulting TiledRasterLayer will contain all of the Tiles that the queried intersects, not just the area itself.

Depending on the type of data being queried, there are a couple of ways to filter what will be returned.

Querying a Spatial Layer

One can query an area of a spatial layer that covers the region of interest by providing a geometry that represents this region. This area can be represented as: shapely.geometry (specifically Polygons and MultiPolygons), the wkb representation of the geometry, or an Extent.

Note: It is important that the given geometry is in the same projection as the queried layer. Otherwise, either the wrong area will be returned or an empty layer will be returned.

When the Queried Geometry is in the Same Projection as the Layer

By default, the query function assumes that the geometry and layer given are in the same projection.

layer_extent = spatial_tiled_layer.layer_metadata.extent

# Creates a Polygon from the cropped Extent of the Layer
poly = box(layer_extent.xmin+100, layer_extent.ymin+100, layer_extent.xmax-100, layer_extent.ymax-100)
# Returns the region of the layer that was intersected by the Polygon at zoom level 11.

When the Queried Geometry is in a Different Projection than the Layer

As stated above, it is important that both the geometry and layer are in the same projection. If the two are in different CRSs, then this can be resolved by setting the proj_query parameter to whatever projection the geometry is in.

# The queried Extent is in a different projection than the base layer
metadata = spatial_tiled_layer.tile_to_layout(layout=gps.GlobalLayout(), target_crs=4326).layer_metadata
metadata.layout_definition.extent, spatial_tiled_layer.layer_metadata.layout_definition.extent

# Queries the area of the Extent and returns any intersections
querried_spatial_layer = gps.query(uri="file:///tmp/spatial-catalog",

# Because we queried the whole Extent of the layer, we should have gotten back the whole thing.
querried_extent = querried_spatial_layer.layer_metadata.layout_definition.extent
base_extent = spatial_tiled_layer.layer_metadata.layout_definition.extent

querried_extent == base_extent

Querying a Spatial-Temporal Layer

In addition to being able to query a geometry, spatial-temporal data can also be filtered by time as well. These times are given as datetime.datetime instances.

Querying by Time

min_key = space_time_tiled_layer.layer_metadata.bounds.minKey

# Returns a TiledRasterLayer whose keys intersect the given time interval.
# In this case, the entire layer will be read.
          time_intervals=[min_key.instant, max_key.instant])

# It's possible to query a single time interval. By doing so, only Tiles that contain the time given will be
# returned.

Querying by Space and Time

# In addition to Polygons, one can also query using MultiPolygons.
poly_1 = box(140.0, 60.0, 150.0, 65.0)
poly_2 = box(160.0, 70.0, 179.0, 89.0)
multi_poly = MultiPolygon(poly_1, poly_2)

# Returns a TiledRasterLayer that contains the tiles which intersect the given polygons and are within the
# specified time interval.
          time_intervals=[min_key.instant, max_key.instant])

Non-Intersecting Queries

In the event that neither the query_geom nor time_intervals intersects the layer, then an empty TiledRasterLayer will be returned.

# A non-intersecting geometry that we will use to query our layer.
bad_area = box(-100, -100, 0, 0)

# This will return an empty TiledRasterLayer
empty_layer = gps.query(uri="file:///tmp/spatial-catalog",



When writing a layer, GeoPySpark uses an AttributeStore to write layer metadata required to read and query the layer later. This class can be used outside of catalog write and query functions to inspect available layers and store additional, user defined, attributes.

Creating AttributeStore

AttributeStore can be created from the same URI that is given to write and query functions.

store = gps.AttributeStore(uri='file:///tmp/spatial-catalog')

# Check if layer exists
store.contains('spatial-layer', 11)

# List layers stored in the catalog, giving list of AttributeStore.Attributes
attributes_list = store.layers

# Ask for layer attributes by name
attributes = store.layer('spatial-layer', 11)

# Read layer metadata

User Defined Attributes

Internally AttributeStore is a key-value store where key is a tuple of layer name and zoom and values are encoded as JSON. The layer metadata is stored under attribute named metadata. Care should be taken to not overwrite this attribute.

# Reading layer metadata as underlying JSON value"metadata")
{'header': {'format': 'file',
  'keyClass': 'geotrellis.spark.SpatialKey',
  'path': 'spatial-layer/11',
  'valueClass': 'geotrellis.raster.MultibandTile'},
 'keyIndex': {'properties': {'keyBounds': {'maxKey': {'col': 1485, 'row': 996}, 'minKey': {'col': 1479, 'row': 984}}},
  'type': 'zorder'},
 'metadata': {'bounds': {'maxKey': {'col': 1485, 'row': 996},
   'minKey': {'col': 1479, 'row': 984}},
  'cellType': 'int16',
  'crs': '+proj=merc +a=6378137 +b=6378137 +lat_ts=0.0 +lon_0=0.0 +x_0=0.0 +y_0=0 +k=1.0 +units=m +nadgrids=@null +wktext +no_defs ',
  'extent': {'xmax': 9024345.159093022,
   'xmin': 8905559.263461886,
   'ymax': 781182.2141882492,
   'ymin': 542452.4856863784},
  'layoutDefinition': {'extent': {'xmax': 20037508.342789244,
    'xmin': -20037508.342789244,
    'ymax': 20037508.342789244,
    'ymin': -20037508.342789244},
   'tileLayout': {'layoutCols': 2048, 'layoutRows': 2048, 'tileCols': 256, 'tileRows': 256}}},
 'schema': {...}

Otherwise you are free to store any additional attribute that is associated with the layer. Attributes provides write and read functions that accept and provide a dictionary.

attributes.write("notes", {'a': 3, 'b': 5})
notes_dict ="notes")

A common use case for this is to store the layer histogram when writing a layer so it may be used for rendering later.

# Calculate the histogram
hist = spatial_tiled_layer.get_histogram()

# GeoPySpark classes have to_dict as a convention when appropriate
hist_dict = hist.to_dict()

# Writing a dictionary that gets encoded as JSON
attributes.write("histogram", hist_dict)

# Reverse the process
hist_read_dict ="histogram")

# GeoPySpark classes have from_dict static method as a convention
hist_read = gps.Histogram.from_dict(hist_read_dict)

# Use the histogram after round trip

AttributeStore Caching

An instance of AttributeStore keeps an in memory cache of attributes recently accessed. This is done because a common access pattern to check layer existence, read the layer and decode the layer will produce repeated requests for layer metadata. Depending on the backend used this may add considerable overhead and expense.

When writing a workflow that places heavy demand on AttributeStore reading it is worth while keeping track of a class instance and reusing it

# Retrieve already created instance if its been asked for before
store = gps.AttributeStore.cached(uri='file:///tmp/spatial-catalog-2')

# Catalog functions have optional store parameter that allows its reuse