Vector Expression

The VectorExpression operator performs a feature-wise expression function on a feature collection of a vector source. The expression is specified as a user-defined script in a very simple language. The output is a feature collection with the result of the expression and with time intervals that are the same as for the inputs. Users can either add a new column or replace the geometry column with the outputs of the expression. Internally, the expression is evaluated using floating-point numbers.

An example usage scenario is to calculate a population density from an area and a population_size column. The expression uses a feature collection with two columns, referred to with their column names area and a population_size, and calculates the formula area / population_size. The output feature collection contains the result of the density expression in a new column.

Another example is to calculate the centroid of a polygon geometry. The expression uses a feature collection with a geometry column and calculates the formula centroid(geom). The output feature collection contains the result of the centroid expression replacing the original geometries.


ParameterTypeDescriptionExample Value
expressionExpressionExpression script
area / population_size
inputColumnsVec<String>The names of the attributes to generate boxes for.
[area, population_size]
outputColumnOutputColumnAn output column name or a geometry type
{"type": "column", "value": "density"} {"type": "geometry", "value": "MultiPoint"}
geometryColumnNameString (optional)A name for the geometry variable. geom by default.
outputMeasurementMeasurementDescription about the output
  "type": "continuous",
  "measurement": "Density"

Note: If a name in inputColumns contains any characters other than letters, numbers, and underscores, a canonical variable name has so be used in the expression. For example, the column name population size has to be referred to as population_size in the expression.


The following describes the types used in the parameters.


Expressions are simple scripts to perform feature-wise computations. One can refer to the columns with their name, e.g., area and a population_size. Furthermore, expressions can check with A IS NODATA, B IS NODATA, etc. for empty or NO DATA values. Finally, the value NODATA can be used to output empty or NO DATA.

Users can think of this implicit function signature for, e.g., two inputs:

fn (A: f64, B: f64) -> f64

As a start, expressions contain algebraic operations and mathematical functions.

(A + B) / 2

In addition, branches can be used to check for conditions.

} else {

To generate more complex expressions, it is possible to have variable assignments.

let mean = (A + B) / 2;
let coefficient = 0.357;
mean * coefficient

Note, that all assignments are separated by semicolons. However, the last expression must be without a semicolon.


Function calls can be used to access utility functions.

max(A, 0)

Currently, the following functions are available:

  • abs(a): absolute value
  • min(a, b), min(a, b, c): minimum value
  • max(a, b), max(a, b, c): maximum value
  • sqrt(a): square root
  • ln(a): natural logarithm
  • log10(a): base 10 logarithm
  • cos(a), sin(a), tan(a), acos(a), asin(a), atan(a): trigonometric functions
  • pi(), e(): mathematical constants
  • round(a), ceil(a), floor(a): rounding functions
  • mod(a, b): division remainder
  • to_degrees(a), to_radians(a): conversion to degrees or radians


Geometries can be referred to using the geometryColumnName, which is geom by default. There are several functions to work with geometries:

  • centroid(geom): returns the centroid of the geometry
  • area(geom): returns the area of the geometry

An example expression to calculate the centroid of a geometry is:



The VectorExpression operator expects one rater input with at most 8 bands.



The parsing of the expression can fail if there are, e.g., syntax errors.

Example JSON

  "type": "VectorExpression",
  "params": {
    "inputColumns": ["area", "population_size"],
    "outputColumn": { "type": "column", "value": "density" },
    "expression": "area /  population_size",
    "outputMeasurement": { "type": "unitless" }
  "sources": {
    "vector": {
      "type": "OgrSource",
      "params": {
        "data": "areas"
  "type": "VectorExpression",
  "params": {
    "inputColumns": [],
    "outputColumn": { "type": "geometry", "value": "MultiPoint" },
    "expression": "centroid(geom)",
    "geometryColumnName": "geom"
  "sources": {
    "vector": {
      "type": "OgrSource",
      "params": {
        "data": "areas"