ESRI Shapefile (szejp, shapefile, SHP)

ESRI Shapefile is a file format for storing spatial data with attributes developed a very long time ago by ESRI.

Shapefile is:

  1. unwieldy because it actually consists of several files (.shp, .shx, .dbf, .prj) and losing any of the component files makes it impossible for GIS software to open it,
  2. inconvenient, as the attribute name can be up to 10 characters long and the attribute value up to 256 characters long,
  3. vulnerable because it is a closed binary format,


  1. It is loved by GIS users and despite its drawbacks is the most popular.
  2. Virtually any software will open it, including QGIS.

In System:

  1. you can export data to Shapefile format
  2. you can create a data source from a Shapefile.

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