ESRI Shapefiles


The shapefile format is a digital vector storage format for storing geometric location and associated attribute information. This format consists of several files. The list of files supported by MapSurfer.NET is:

Mandatory files

  • .shp — shape format; stores the feature geometry itself
  • .shx — shape index format; a positional index of the feature geometry to allow seeking forwards and backwards quickly
  • .dbf — attribute format; columnar attributes for each shape, in dBase IV format

Other files

  • .prj — projection format; the coordinate system and projection information, a plain text file describing the projection using well-known text format
  • .sbn and .sbx — a spatial index of the features
  • .cpg — used to specify the code page (only for .dbf) for identifying the character encoding to be used
  • .mdix — a quadtree spatial index, analouge of .qix format used by MapServer, Mapnik and GDAL/OGR.

For further details, see the technical specification provided by ESRI.


In MapSurfer.NET, Shape data source provider operates with the following configuration parameters:

Parameter NameValue TypeDescriptionRequired
FileStringDetermines a path to the the file. The path can also be relative to the directory where map project is stored.Yes
FileBasedIndexBooleanDetermines whether the quadtree spatial index is created or not. This index improves the performance of reading data from disk. It requires write permissions to a corresponding folder. Possible values are True or False.No
MemoryMappedFileBooleanCreates a memory-mapped file that enables to work with extremely large files. Possible values are True or False.No
EncodingStringSpecifies the character encoding to read data from .dbf file.No
BufferSizeIntegerA positive integer value greater than 0 indicating the buffer size in bytes. The default buffer size is 512.No


Shapefiles can also be read using other data source providers such as EsriFileGeoDB or OGR.