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fTools Plugin

The goal of the fTools Python plugin is to provide a one-stop resource for many common vector-based GIS tasks, without the need for additional software, libraries, or complex work-arounds. It provides a growing suite of spatial data management and analysis functions that are both fast and functional.

fTools is now automatically installed and enabled in new versions of QGIS, and as with all plugins, it can be disabled and enabled using the Plugin Manager (see The Plugins Dialog). When enabled, the fTools plugin adds a Vector menu to QGIS, providing functions ranging from Analysis and Research Tools to Geometry and Geoprocessing Tools, as well as several useful Data Management Tools.

Analysis tools

Icon Tool Purpose
matrix Distance matrix Measure distances between two point layers, and output results as a) Square distance matrix, b) Linear distance matrix, or c) Summary of distances. Can limit distances to the k nearest features.
sum_lines Sum line length Calculate the total sum of line lengths for each polygon of a polygon vector layer.
sum_points Points in polygon Count the number of points that occur in each polygon of an input polygon vector layer.
unique List unique values List all unique values in an input vector layer field.
basic_statistics Basic statistics Compute basic statistics (mean, std dev, N, sum, CV) on an input field.
neighbor Nearest neighbor analysis Compute nearest neighbor statistics to assess the level of clustering in a point vector layer.
mean Mean coordinate(s) Compute either the normal or weighted mean center of an entire vector layer, or multiple features based on a unique ID field.
intersections Line intersections Locate intersections between lines, and output results as a point shapefile. Useful for locating road or stream intersections, ignores line intersections with length > 0.

Table Ftools 1: fTools Analysis tools

Research tools

Icon Tool Purpose
random_selection Random selection Randomly select n number of features, or n percentage of features.
sub_selection Random selection within subsets Randomly select features within subsets based on a unique ID field.
random_points Random points Generate pseudo-random points over a given input layer.
regular_points Regular points Generate a regular grid of points over a specified region and export them as a point shapefile.
vector_grid Vector grid Generate a line or polygon grid based on user-specified grid spacing.
select_location Select by location Select features based on their location relative to another layer to form a new selection, or add or subtract from the current selection.
layer_extent Polygon from layer extent Create a single rectangular polygon layer from the extent of an input raster or vector layer.

Table Ftools 2: fTools Research tools

Geoprocessing tools

Icon Tool Purpose
convex_hull Convex hull(s) Create minimum convex hull(s) for an input layer, or based on an ID field.
buffer Buffer(s) Create buffer(s) around features based on distance, or distance field.
intersect Intersect Overlay layers such that output contains areas where both layers intersect.
union Union Overlay layers such that output contains intersecting and non-intersecting areas.
sym_difference Symmetrical difference Overlay layers such that output contains those areas of the input and difference layers that do not intersect.
clip Clip Overlay layers such that output contains areas that intersect the clip layer.
difference Difference Overlay layers such that output contains areas not intersecting the clip layer.
dissolve Dissolve Merge features based on input field. All features with identical input values are combined to form one single feature.
eliminate Eliminate sliver polygons Merges selected features with the neighbouring polygon with the largest area or largest common boundary.

Table Ftools 3: fTools Geoprocessing tools

Geometry tools

Icon Tool Purpose
check_geometry Check geometry validity Check polygons for intersections, closed holes, and fix node ordering. You can choose the engine used by the in the options dialog, digitizing tab Change the Validate geometries value. There is two engines: QGIS and GEOS which have pretty different behaviour. Another tools exists which shows different result as well: Topology Checker plugin and ‘must not have invalid geometries’ rule.
export_geometry Export/Add geometry columns Add vector layer geometry info to point (XCOORD, YCOORD), line (LENGTH), or polygon (AREA, PERIMETER) layer.
centroids Polygon centroids Calculate the true centroids for each polygon in an input polygon layer.
delaunay Delaunay triangulation Calculate and output (as polygons) the Delaunay triangulation of an input point vector layer.
  Voronoi polygons Calculate Voronoi polygons of an input point vector layer.
simplify Simplify geometry Generalize lines or polygons with a modified Douglas-Peucker algorithm.
  Densify geometry Densify lines or polygons by adding vertices.
multi_to_single Multipart to singleparts Convert multipart features to multiple singlepart features. Creates simple polygons and lines.
single_to_multi Singleparts to multipart Merge multiple features to a single multipart feature based on a unique ID field.
to_lines Polygons to lines Convert polygons to lines, multipart polygons to multiple singlepart lines.
to_lines Lines to polygons Convert lines to polygons, multipart lines to multiple singlepart polygons.
extract_nodes Extract nodes Extract nodes from line and polygon layers and output them as points.

Table Ftools 4: fTools Geometry tools


The Simplify geometry tool can be used to remove duplicate nodes in line and polygon geometries. Just set the Simplify tolerance parameter to 0 and this will do the trick.

Data management tools

Icon Tool Purpose
define_projection Define current projection Specify the CRS for shapefiles whose CRS has not been defined.
join_location Join attributes by location Join additional attributes to vector layer based on spatial relationship. Attributes from one vector layer are appended to the attribute table of another layer and exported as a shapefile.
split_layer Split vector layer Split input layer into multiple separate layers based on input field.
merge_shapes Merge shapefiles to one Merge several shapefiles within a folder into a new shapefile based on the layer type (point, line, area).
  Create spatial index Create a spatial index for OGR- supported formats.

Table Ftools 5: fTools Data management tools