Geo::GDAL  2.0


These pages document the version 2.0 of the GDAL Perl API, which is extended from the released versions APIs. Old versions: 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.10 1.11


The Geo::GDAL modules are the Perl bindings to the GDAL/OGR library. The modules allow you to use Perl to access and manipulate all geospatial data that the installed GDAL library is configured to access and manipulate.

This documentation covers the Perl bindings. For more in-depth documentation see the main documentation of GDAL. This documentation also emphasizes the recommended Perl API. Some methods and aliases to method names are left out since they may skip some built-in usability or other additions.

Some arguments are optional and have a default value. This is illustrated like this:

SomeMethod(arg1, arg2 = 4);

arg1 is a required argument.

arg2 may be left out and if left out, will get the value 4 (in this case).

Only the last argument or arguments can be optional.

In some cases a method can be called in a traditional way and with named arguments (i.e. with a hash):

$object->method(1, 2, 3);
$object->method(number=>1, param=>2, other=>3);
$object->method({number=>1, param=>2, other=>3});

Note especially the difference between the second and the third versions. In some cases the named arguments must be given in an anonymous hash.

In some cases a method may behave differently depending on the parameters that it gets:

$object->method($hashref); # method called with a reference to a hash
$object->method($arrayref); # method called with a reference to an array

In some cases a method may examine the context in which it is called, and behave differently:

$object->method(); # method called in void context
$return = $object->method(); # method called in scalar context
@return = $object->method(); # method called in list context

Many of the methods may throw an error, which can be caught by putting the call into eval{}; and then examining the contents of $@.

Class methods and attributes vs object methods and attributes

Some methods are class methods and some methods are object methods. Object methods are always invoked for objects, i.e.


while class methods are invoked either as methods


or as subroutines


The disctinction between class methods and subroutines is subtle but often important. The method invocation passes the class name as the first argument while the subroutine invocation does not. Especially constructor (new) must be called as a class method.

Similar to methods, also attributes are either class attributes or object attributes. Class attributes are global variables that are associated with a class and object attributes are variables owned by each individual object. Class attributes are used for example for enumerated values. In some cases object attributes can be accessed as hash values

$value = $object->{attribute};
$object->{attribute} = $new_value;

but this is mostly deprecated and class and object attributes should be accessed through methods.

Class attributes are also used for maintaining, e.g., is_a_part_of relationships between objects. Because Band objects are a part of Dataset objects, there is a class attribute (a hash) in Dataset, which maintains these relationships and makes sure the Dataset object that owns a Band object is not destroyed before the Band object. Also, definition objects that are linked to feature and layer objects are read-only, and this constraint is enforced using class attributes.


Geo::GDAL uses the Perl exception mechanism. This means that exceptions that GDAL classifies as failures or fatal errors trigger a Perl exception, and an exception that is classified as a warning triggers a Perl warning.

Perl exceptions can be caught by eval() and Perl warnings can be caught by signal __WARN__. Examples:

eval {
$point = Geo::OGR::Geometry->new(WKT=>"POINTXX(1 1)");
print STDERR "Error: $@";


Error: RuntimeError OGR Error: Unsupported geometry type


$SIG{__WARN__} = sub { print STDERR "Warning: @_"; }
Geo::GDAL::GetDriver('GTiff')->Create( Name => 'my.tiff',
Width => 100,
Height => 100,
Type => 'Byte',
Options => { my_unknown_option => 'b' } );


Warning: Driver GTiff does not support my_unknown_option creation option at site/lib/Geo/ line 771.

Progress callback

Some methods accept a callback function for reporting the progress. The progress subroutine is called with three arguments: a number, a string, and user defined data. The user defined data is an argument to the method.

sub progress {
my($progress, $message, $data) = @_;
my $terminate = 0;
return $terminate ? 0 : 1;


This documentation is generated from files within the GDAL distribution (directory swig/perl) with Doxygen using a Perl module Doxygen::Filter::Perl (see also the Doxygen::Filter::Perl bug reports). A tailor made preprocessor in the GDAL distribution is used to process and put all Perl code and documentation into a single file ( for Doxygen.

Many methods are just interfaces to non-Perl code in the bindings or GDAL and thus their code show as blank on these pages. The bindings are created with Swig, which adds some methods by default.

Code examples in method pages contain dots ('.') to enforce indentation. This is due to a doxygen bug.