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The Shape File Import Utility

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For those interested in bringing information from another Geographic Information System (GIS) product into LandView®, we provide a utility, SHP2MIE, that translates a shapefile into a MARPLOT Import Export (MIE) file. Download shp2mie.exe.

Shapefiles are a public domain data format created by the Environmental Systems Research Institute, ESRI®, and are used in a wide variety of GIS software programs to represent a set of geographic features such as streets, places, metropolitan areas, and tract boundaries. Each shapefile, name.shp, represents an associated set of map objects of a similar type-point, line, or area. With each shapefile is a similarly named data file, name.dbf, which contains information attributes linked to each map object. Shapefiles are a standard file format for transferring such information between GIS mapping software programs.

The MARPLOT Import/Export (MIE) format is the standard file format for importing and/or exporting MARPLOT information. An MIE file is a text file which completely describes the contained map objects in a format understood by MARPLOT. On import, each map object specified in the file is added to an identified map layer and map. If the objects in the file are from layers and/or maps that are not currently available in MARPLOT, the layers and/or maps are created. Maps created as part of the import process are stored in the same folder (directory) as the MARPLOT application itself. For more details about MARPLOT Import/Export, see MARPLOT Help.

The SHP2MIE program can read shapefiles that are unprojected (a Geographic projection, in ArcView terms) or that are projected in either UTM or Albers. Start SHP2MIE by locating and opening the shp2mie.exe executable file. A dialog box requests that you point to the folder and identify the shapefile you wish to translate 1. After selecting the file, click the open button. The Shape File to MARPLOT MIE file conversion dialog box is shown at the end of this article.

First, choose a field from the shapefile attributes table to serve as a name for each map object. The attribute table represents field names in the file, name.dbf. To avoid confusion, you should try to select a field that provides a unique name for each map object. To this end, you may wish to examine the DBF file in any application that will display its contents.

Next, enter names for the MARPLOT layer that will contain the file's map objects and for its associated MARPLOT map. The default MARPLOT map name is User's Map. This map was automatically created when you installed LandView, and there is no need to change this default setting. If you wish to translate only selected map objects from the shapefile, you should select the controlling field using the scroll bar in the Filtering field and the value that will serve as a filter.

If the selected shapefile contains projected map data, you will be so advised, and it will be necessary to provide additional projection related information in the dialogue. For further information on projections, see an appropriate GIS reference.

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1 If the shapefile is contained on locked media, such as a CD, it is necessary to copy both the SHP and DBF files to an addressable drive. SHP2MIE, by default, creates the associated MARPLOT import file, name.mie, in the directory containing the shapefile.

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