I am new at using GMT (Generic Mapping Tools) and I am wondering if it can use a shapefile of a hydrographical network.

Can I perhaps change my .shp to .gmt format and combine it with a GMT map? If so, how?

  • possible duplicate of GMT grid to ESRI readable format
    – Fezter
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 0:59
  • I think this is the exact opposite
    – Fotini_M
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 1:13
  • 1
    Can you edit your question to explain the GMT abbreviation, please?
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 3:29
  • I agree with PolyGeo. Also network shapefile? You mean a group of shape files to load into something? I have never heard of a network shapefile in esri.
    – Brad Nesom
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 3:40
  • 2
    @BradNesom I think "hydrographical network shapefile" will be a line shapefile of a hydrographic network. GMT could be en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_Mapping_Tools. In any event I think this question should be focussed on the conversion and the extra parts researched/asked separately.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 4:03

3 Answers 3


Convert from shape to gmt use this
example code :

ogr2ogr -f "GMT" Hudson_bounds.gmt Hudson_bounds.shp

  • how can i use this? at my command prompt? please can you help me i can understand it
    – Fotini_M
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 0:06
  • @Fotini_M you can get the ogr2ogr commandline tool by installing GDAL
    – user2856
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 3:15
  • Type it from youre command prompt window, link was provided by Luke. Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 7:07

In GDAL 2.2.1 the call is:

ogr2ogr -f "OGR_GMT" Hudson_bounds.gmt Hudson_bounds.shp


Shapefiles can be converted to xy segment files using QGIS. Just right click on the shapefile in QGIS and then Save As -> Format "Generic Mapping Tools [GMT]". Use WGS84 as the CRS, give a file name and click OK.

This is highly userfriendly when dealing with multi segment shapefiles.

  • Can't find this options at all in Qgis
    – VGB
    Commented Nov 23, 2022 at 5:31

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