I got multiple files, say 2500, I never heard about lul files before. anyway I visualised it in QGIS after number of attempt in Autocad map 3d and ArcGIS. it is basically like Basemap:Road, parcels, and with labels of Road name, Plot No. etc.

Now I am trying convert it to one shapefile (lines, poly) and text would definitely be the POINTs with label as attribute in it.

Update: Here is snapshot for sample file.

enter image description here

  • 2
    Never heard of it, and only find reference to it as a CompuServe email attachment. Can you post a sample file or your source? If you've got it open in QGIS, can't you just save as to a shapefile? I'm assuming it's vector based on your description, but a screenshot might be helpful.
    – Chris W
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 16:18
  • @ChrisW, yes I can save it as shapefile but 2500 files are there. Dont you think it require number hours to save as shape file. these files are of whole UK/London. As of Now I can relate it as London underground..something. Not sure. Commented May 10, 2015 at 2:54
  • While I don't know exactly how to do it, that sounds like the perfect task for a script or model. In theory it would be a pretty simple one - iterate files in folder, add to map and define a projection if any, then save out to a shapefile. As I said, I can't find any reference to that extension, so it doesn't look like there's a batch conversion program out there. Without having a sample to examine we can't determine if it's just an improper extension or what's actually in the file. If I associate LUL with London, I find London Underground Limited, who runs the subway system. Tube map maybe?
    – Chris W
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 22:22
  • @ChrisW Please see updated sample snapshot in question above. Commented May 11, 2015 at 5:06
  • @ChrisW Sample lul file shared in updated question above. Commented May 11, 2015 at 5:14

2 Answers 2


This sounds like a job for ogr2ogr.

ogrinfo reports your example to be readable/writable as DGN format.

If you installed QGIS with the OSGeo4W installer you'll be able to access ogr2ogr from the OSGeo4W shell.

The syntax for every file is something like this. Check the ogr2ogr documentation to tune the syntax to your specific needs (format, fields, select statements, etc.).:

ogr2ogr -f "ESRI Shapefile" -update -append D:\merged.shp D:\TQ1767NE.lul

You can automate this process for every .lul file in your folder with a simple script. There are examples for Windows shell and Linux bash:

for %f in (*.lul) do (ogr2ogr -update -append merge.shp %f  -f "ESRI Shapefile" -nln merge )

for f in *.lul; do ogr2ogr -update -append merge.shp $f -f "ESRI Shapefile"; done;
  • Thank you very much. I go with DXF first as it retains Annotation as it is. But when I merge it by for %f in (*.lul) do (ogr2ogr -update -append merge.DXF %f -f "DXF" -nln merge ). I got Error Layer Merge not found , and create layer is not supported Commented May 12, 2015 at 9:37
  • That is a limitation of the DXF driver. "The entire contents of the file is represented as a single layer named "entities"." -nln mergetries to assign an alternate name to the new layer.
    – Kersten
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 13:54

Based on Kersten's answer, specifically the fact that it was readable/writeable as a dgn, I just changed the file extension of your sample file from .lul to .dgn and was able to add it to ArcMap normally with the add data button. It doesn't come in very cleanly (CAD files rarely do), but it's there.

I suspect that, based on my searching which all pointed to .lul being a 'CompuServe Email attachement', at some point the files were sent via email and that service just changed the extension to make it serve as an attachment. Perhaps if using that actual client on both ends, the proper file extensions would be present. But this is just a theory.

You could use a batch file renaming utility (I like Lupas Rename personally) to change all the files from .lul to .dgn and work with them like that. That may also open up the possibility of using specific importers/conversion tools which can make better sense of the dgn format and properly converting them to shapefiles with appropriate attributes. ogr2ogr as Kersten suggests might do the trick - I'm not yet familiar with it.


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