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A command line utility for generating topojson from various data sources for fast maps.


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A command line utility for generating consolidated TopoJSON from various data sources. Used for making fast vector maps with D3.

Important links:


You will need to have the following non-Python dependencies installed:

  • ogr2ogr (GDAL): npm install ogr2ogr
  • topojson@1.6.27: (topojson 2+ does not work)

mapturner itself can be installed with pip:

pip install mapturner

Note: Since mapturner relies on topojson 1.x (old version of topojson), we recommend installing this version of topojson inside your project root folder by running:

npm install -g topojson@1.6.27 --prefix node_modules

To install topojson@1.6.27 globally instead run:

npm install -g topojson@1.6.27

mapturner will search first for the topojson binaries installed within the project and fallback to searching the topojson binary on your $PATH.

Developer install process:

git clone git://
cd mapturner
mkvirtualenv mapturner

pip install -r requirements.txt

python develop


Define a YAML configuration file, such as the following example. The complete list of valid options is further on in this documentation.

bbox: '77.25 24.28 91.45 31.5'
        type: 'shp'
        path: ''
        id-property: 'NAME'
            - 'country=NAME'

        type: 'shp'
        path: ''
        id-property: 'name'
            - 'featurecla'
            - 'city=name'
        where: adm0name = 'Nepal' AND scalerank < 8

        type: 'csv'
        path: 'examples/nepal.csv'
        all-properties: True

Then run it!

mapturner input.yaml output.json

The following layer types are currently supported:

  • ESRI Shapefile (shp)
  • GeoJSON or TopoJSON (json)
  • CSV (csv)

How it works

For each layer defined in the configuration file:

  • If path is a URL the file will be downloaded and cached locally. (It will not be redownloaded on subsequent runs.)
  • If path is to a zipped file it will be unzipped.
  • All layers will be clipped to the specified bounding box (using ogr2ogr).
  • For each layer, if a where attribute is specified, the layer data will be filtered by that clause.
  • For each layer, all fields in the layer not specified in the properties array will be removed (to reduce file size), unless all-properties is specified, in which case all will be kept.
  • For each layer, if an id-property is set, data from that property will be set as the identifier for the features in the layer.
  • The layer will be converted to TopoJSON.

After each layer has been processed all of them will be concatenated into a single TopoJSON file. Each layer's key name will be used to identify it in the output.

Complete list of configuration options

For all layer types:

  • type: The type of layer. Valid types are shp, json (GeoJSON or TopoJSON), and csv. (Required)
  • path: The path (relative or absolute) to the layer data file. (Required)
  • id-property: A property from the data file to use as the unique identifier for features. See also, the TopoJSON command-line documentation.
  • properties: A list of properties from the data to be kept in the output. All other properties are dropped.
  • all-properties: If true, then all properties are kept for this layer.
  • where: A SQL-like query predicate that will filter the feature data. This This uses exactly the same query syntax as ogr2ogr.

CSV layers only:

  • latitude: The name of a column in the data containing the latitude of the point/feature.
  • longitude: The name of a column in the data containing the longitude of the point/feature.

Cached data

Cached shapefiles are stored in ~/.mapturner. You may wish to clear this folder periodically to free up space and ensure updated shapefiles are redownloaded.


A command line utility for generating topojson from various data sources for fast maps.







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