CQL Filters

The features returned by items queries can be filtered using the filter query parameter with an expression written using the Common Query Language (CQL). CQL expressions return a value of true or false. Only features which evaluate to true are returned.

The filter expression is evaluated by the database, which will take advantage of indexes (attribute and spatial) to make filter evaluation very efficient.

This section describes the CQL query language subset supported. Note that some special characters may need to be URL-encoded in some clients.

Property and Literal Values

The basic elements of filter expressions are values obtained from feature collection properties, and literals (constants).

Properties are referred to by name. Property names can be quoted, to support including special characters.


Literals can be numbers, boolean or text values. To include single quotes in text values use repeated single quotes.

'a text value'
'it''s easy'

Arithmetic expressions

Values of numeric expressions can be computed using the arithmetic operators +,-,*,/, % (modulo), and ^ (exponentiation) with parentheses to specify operator precedence.

NOTE: + needs to be URL-encoded as %2B.

x + 3
2 * (y - 3)
p % 10

String concatenation

Values of string expressions can be computed using the concatenation operator ||`.

x || y
'a' || x || 'b'


Values can be compared using conditional operators:

a = b   a <> b   a > b   a >= b   a < b   a <= b


pop_est >= 1000000
name = 'Finland'
count % 10 = 1

BETWEEN predicate

The BETWEEN predicate tests if a value (a property, literal or expression) lies in the range defined by a start and end value (inclusive):

e1 [NOT] BETWEEN e2 AND e3


pop_est BETWEEN 1000000 AND 9000000
name NOT BETWEEN 'Chile' AND 'Denmark'

IN predicate

The IN predicate tests if a value lies in a list of constant values.

property [NOT] IN ( val1, val2, ... )


id IN (1,2,3)
name IN ('Chile', 'Kenya', 'Denmark')

LIKE predicate

The LIKE predicate tests if a text value matches a pattern. The character % is a wildcard. (Note that this may need to be URL-encoded as %25.) ILIKE can be used for case-independent matching.

property [NOT] LIKE | ILIKE pattern


name LIKE 'Ch%'
continent ILIKE '%america'

IS NULL predicate

The IS NULL predicate tests if a property value is (or is not) null.

property IS [NOT] NULL


name IS NULL

Boolean combinations

Comparisons and predicates can be combined with the boolean operators AND, OR and NOT. Operators are evaluated in the order NOT, AND, OR. Evaluation order can be controlled by enclosing subexpressions in parentheses.


(continent = 'Europe' OR continent = 'Africa') AND pop_est < 1000000

Spatial filters

CQL supports spatial filtering by providing geometry literals and spatial predicates.

Geometry Literals

Geometry literals use Well-Known Text (WKT) to describe values for points, lines, polygons (with holes), and collections.


POINT (1 2)
LINESTRING (0 0, 1 1)
POLYGON ((0 0, 0 9, 9 0, 0 0))
POLYGON ((0 0, 0 9, 9 0, 0 0),(1 1, 1 8, 8 1, 1 1))
MULTIPOINT ((0 0), (0 9))
MULTILINESTRING ((0 0, 1 1),(1 1, 2 2))
MULTIPOLYGON (((1 4, 4 1, 1 1, 1 4)), ((1 9, 4 9, 1 6, 1 9)))
GEOMETRYCOLLECTION(POLYGON ((1 4, 4 1, 1 1, 1 4)), LINESTRING (3 3, 5 5), POINT (1 5))

CQL also provides a syntax for concisely representing a rectangular polygon by the X and Y ordinates at the lower-left and upper-right corners:

ENVELOPE (1, 2, 3, 4)

By default the coordinate system of geometry literal values is assumed to be geodetic (SRID = 4326). The filter-crs=SRID query parameter can be used to specify that the geometry literals in a filter expression are in a different coordinate system.

Spatial predicates

Spatial predicates allow filtering features via spatial conditions on the feature geometry. Spatial predicates are defined in the form of spatial functions. Predicates for spatial relationships include:

  • INTERSECTS - tests whether two geometries intersect
  • DISJOINT - tests whether two geometries have no points in common
  • CONTAINS - tests whether a geometry contains another
  • WITHIN - tests whether a geometry is within another
  • EQUALS - tests whether two geometries are topologically equal
  • CROSSES - tests whether the geometries cross
  • OVERLAPS - tests whether the geometries overlap
  • TOUCHES - tests whether the geometries touch

For detailed definitions of the spatial predicates see the CQL standard and the PostGIS function reference.

Typically a spatial predicate is used to test the relationship between the spatial column of the queried collection and a geometry literal value.


INTERSECTS(geom, ENVELOPE(-100, 49, -90, 50) )

CONTAINS(geom, POINT(-100 49) )

The DWITHIN predicate allows testing whether a geometry lies within a given distance of another. The distance is in the units of the dataset’s coordinate system (degrees in the case of data stored in SRID=4326, or a length unit such as meters for non-geodetic data).


DWITHIN(geom, POINT(-100 49), 0.1)

Temporal filters

Temporal filtering in CQL supports date-time literals and the ability to use them in conditions against temporal-valued properties (table columns with type date or timestamp).

Date-time literals specifiy a date, or a timestamp including a date and time (with optional seconds value):


Temporal values can be compared using the conditional operators <,<=,>,>=,=,<>:

t > 2001-01-01T00:00 AND t <= 2002-12-31T11:59:59

They can also be used in the BETWEEN predicate. The values used can be properties or literals:

t BETWEEN 2001-01-01 AND 2001-12-31
2001-01-01 BETWEEN time1 AND time2