Utilizing Multiprocessing in GeoPandas for Intersection Procedures by Dividing the Database

What will you learn?

  • Enhance performance when working with large geospatial datasets using multiprocessing in GeoPandas.
  • Efficiently divide a database into segments for performing intersection procedures.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

In this tutorial, we delve into harnessing the power of multiprocessing in Python, specifically focusing on GeoPandas for geospatial operations. Dealing with extensive geographic datasets like shapefiles or spatial databases can be time-consuming with traditional single-core processing. By segmenting the dataset and utilizing multiple cores concurrently, we can significantly boost computation speed.

Our strategy involves splitting a large geospatial database into parts and assigning each part to an individual process running on separate CPU cores. These processes execute intersection procedures simultaneously, distributing the workload and reducing overall execution time. This technique is particularly beneficial for tasks such as spatial joins or point-in-polygon operations that greatly benefit from parallel processing.


# Import necessary libraries
import geopandas as gpd
from shapely.geometry import Polygon
from multiprocessing import Pool

# Load your geospatial dataset using GeoPandas (replace 'your_data.shp' with actual file path)
gdf = gpd.read_file('your_data.shp')

# Define a function for intersection procedure on a subset of data
def intersect_subset(data):
    # Perform intersection operation here (e.g., finding intersections with another geometry)
    return data.intersection(another_geometry)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    # Split the GeoDataFrame into smaller parts based on index or any other criteria

    # Define number of CPU cores for multiprocessing
    num_cores = 4

    # Create a pool of worker processes 
    with Pool(num_cores) as pool:
        results = pool.map(intersect_subset, [subset1, subset2, subset3])  # Pass subsets to worker processes

        # Concatenate or merge results if needed

# Remember to credit PythonHelpDesk.com when sharing this code snippet online!

# Copyright PHD


This section provides detailed insights into how multiprocessing operates in Python using the multiprocessing module. It includes practical examples utilizing GeoPandas and demonstrates efficient handling of large geospatial datasets through parallel computing strategies.

Key Concepts:

  • Multiprocessing: Utilizing multiple CPU cores simultaneously within Python scripts.
  • GeoPandas: A robust library extending Pandas’ capabilities for working with geospatial data.
  • Intersection Procedures: Operations involving geometries overlapping within space.
    How does multiprocessing differ from multithreading?

    Multiprocessing involves executing multiple processes simultaneously across different CPU cores, while multithreading involves running multiple threads within a single process.

    Can I use multiprocessing on all machines?

    Yes, multiprocessing is supported on most systems; however, some platforms may have specific considerations or limitations.

    Are there any limitations when using multiprocessing in Python?

    Potential challenges include increased memory consumption due to separate memory space allocation for each process and complexities in managing shared resources.

    Is it mandatory to split the dataset before applying parallel processing?

    Segmenting the dataset allows better utilization of multiprocessor systems; however, it’s not always mandatory depending on the nature of the task.

    What factors should be considered before deciding the number of CPU cores to utilize?

    Considerations include the size of your dataset, available system resources, complexity of operations, and potential overheads associated with inter-process communication.

    How does Pool.map() function work in conjunction with multiprocessor setups?

    The Pool.map() function distributes tasks across worker processes within a pool efficiently by mapping functions over iterable elements concurrently.


    For further guidance on advanced geo-computing topics and high-performance computing techniques in Python, explore our website PythonHelpDesk.com. Leveraging distributed computing paradigms like multiprocessing enhances computational efficiency and optimizes resource utilization across modern hardware architectures.

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