ESRI Shapefiles (SHP)

Also known as ESRI ArcView Shapefiles or ESRI Shapefiles. ESRI is the company that introduced this format. ArcView was the first product to use shapefiles.

File listing

Shapefiles are made up of a minimum of three similarly named files, with different suffixes:

Countries_area.dbf
Countries_area.shp
Countries_area.shx

Data Access / Connection Method

Shapefile access is built directly into MapServer. It is also available through OGR, but direct access without OGR is recommended and discussed here. The path to the shapefile is required. No file extension should be specified. Shapefiles only hold one layer of data, therefore no distinction needs to be made.

Exemples OGRINFO

  • The directory can serve as a data source.
  • Each shapefile in a directory serves as a layer.
  • A shapefile can also be a data source. In this case the layer has the same prefix as the shapefile.

Using ogrinfo on a directory with multiple shapefiles:

> ogrinfo /data/shapefiles/
INFO: Open of `/data/shapefiles/'
using driver `ESRI Shapefile' successful.
1: wpg_h2o (Line String)
2: wpg_roads (Line String)
3: wpg_roads_dis (Line String)
4: wpgrestaurants (Point)

Using ogrinfo on a single shapefile:

> ogrinfo /data/shapefiles/Countries_area.shp
Had to open data source read-only.
INFO: Open of `Countries_area.shp'
using driver `ESRI Shapefile' successful.
1: Countries_area (Polygon)

Using ogrinfo to examine the structure of the file/layer:

> ogrinfo -summary /data/shapefiles/Countries_area.shp Countries_area
Had to open data source read-only.
INFO: Open of `Countries_area.shp'
using driver `ESRI Shapefile' successful.

Layer name: Countries_area
Geometry: Polygon
Feature Count: 27458
Extent: (-180.000000, -90.000000) - (180.000000, 83.627419)
Layer SRS WKT:
(unknown)
FAC_ID: Integer (5.0)
TILE: Integer (3.0)
ARCLIST: String (254.0)
NAM: String (77.0)
PERIMETER: Real (22.17)
POLYGONCOU: Integer (6.0)
NA2DESC: String (45.0)

Map File Example:

LAYER
        NAME my_shapefile
        TYPE POLYGON
        DATA countries_area
        STATUS OFF
        CLASS
        NAME "Countries"
        OUTLINECOLOR 0 0 0
        END
END