The Shapefile from ESRI is a proprietary but openly documented and widely used geospatial vector format. A shapefile can store a collection of geospatial features (points, lines, and/or polygons) together with attribute details (such as labels and associated measurements) for the features. A shapefile is actually a cluster of files, which share an 8-character filename, but use different extensions. A shapefile consists minimally of a main file, an index file, and a dBASE table (.shp, .shx, and .dbf). The cluster of files is typically stored in the same file directory or project workspace. The main file (.shp) contains the primary geographic reference data in the shapefile. The .dbf file (in dBase format) stores the attribute data. The .shx file is a positional index to features in the .shp file.
- ESRI Shapefile Technical Description ESRI, July 1998
- Synalysis grammar file for SHP (for Hexinator / Synalize It!; more details)
- Synalysis grammar file for SHX (for Hexinator / Synalize It!; more details)
- Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL/OGR) Cross platform C++ translator library for raster and vector geospatial data formats