Sorting and using limit

To find data based on the ordering of one or more of its attributes, we can use the sort_by and max_features parameters of the search objects.


Next to the query and location parameters in the search method, you can use the sort_by parameter to apply an ordering in the results you retrieve. While the query and location filters restrict the features returned to the ones matching your query, sort_by only influences the order of those results.

Sorting is mainly useful in combination with the max_features parameter described below: this allows to retrieve the X latest interpretations, deepest boreholes, etc.

A sort_by expression consists of a query field (propertyname) and an ordering (ASC for ascending or DESC for descending). pydov uses the SortBy expression from the OWSLib library, defined in the owslib.fes2 package.


Sort on one or multiple attributes. Takes a list of SortProperty instances for sorting.

Example: SortBy([SortProperty(propertyname='diepte_boring_tot', order='DESC')])

Finding the 10 deepest boreholes is now straightforward:

from import BoringSearch
from owslib.fes2 import SortBy, SortProperty

bs = BoringSearch()
df =[SortProperty('diepte_boring_tot', 'DESC')]),
               return_fields=('pkey_boring', 'diepte_boring_tot'))

Limit number of features

Within the search method, the max_features parameter can be used to limit the number of WFS features you want to be returned. This is mainly useful when exploring the data or in combination with the sort_by parameter. The following example limits the number of features to 2 within the search for grondwaterfilter. The usage is similar for the search for other objects.

from import GrondwaterFilterSearch
from pydov.util.location import Within, Box

gwfilter = GrondwaterFilterSearch()
df =, 168009, 94246, 169873)),

Mind that the amount of features requested not necessarily equals the number of lines in the resulting DataFrame. For example in the case of grondwaterfilter multiple water levels can be available for each feature, resulting in multiple rows.