Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The two shapefiles (shp) are not aligning like they should (note the img). The layer and the two shp files have all the same coordinates - NAD_1983_StatePlane_North_Dakota_North_FIPS_3301_Feet

The surface shp came with the defined coordinates so I imported those coords into the post plot which had "undefined" coords. They did not align. I checked the layer coords and they were the same as the surface shp.

I deleted the coords from the post plot shp file which originally had "undefined coords" and started from square one with the post plot shp coords. I re-imported the coords and I get the same results. I used ArcCatalog to put in the coordinates. I have Arcview 9.3

What am I missing or not doing? I've always been able to fix this issue except on this occasion.

enter image description here

share|improve this question
Hey, I figured it out. When I saved it, I gave it a differant name. Then when I re-downloaded it and kept the original name, it fell right into place. Z – Zoran Jul 16 '11 at 23:53
up vote 4 down vote accepted

A shape file is actually a set of files.
*.shp, *.shx, *.dbf are required.
The *.prj is where it gets it's prjection from.
When renaming a shape file all of the associated files must have the same name and be in the same directory.
It sounds like initially you renamed or moved some of the files but didn't get them all. Good to hear you figured it out.

share|improve this answer
good to know, Brad. I've changed the name of it before but this is the first time this happened. Always a first time for everything. – Zoran Jul 17 '11 at 13:19
If you rename it inside arcGIS, the other files will be renamed automatically. Doing it manually through Windows Explorer, however, could cause some issues. – Nathanus Jul 18 '11 at 21:12

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.