I edited a shapefile of approximately 1500+ pipe segments yesterday in QGIS. When opened today (first in ArcMAP by another user) only about 10% of the pipes were drawn. The same happened when the shapefile was subsequently opened again in QGIS. The attribute table still shows the 1500+ pipes.

Any help as to why they are not drawing?

Attached image shows original file (rose coloured lines) versus edited (blue lines).

original (rose) versus edited (blue) data

  • How did you save the edits? Commented May 22, 2015 at 14:37
  • 2
    In this situation, I'd recommend using ogr2ogr to create a copy of the shapefile. That utility has a wonderfully curious capacity for sanitizing damaged .shp goods. Alternatively, you might try using QGIS to save a new copy of the .shp under a different name. I don't know how much GDAL/OGR Q is using under the hood, but it might net the same effect.
    – elrobis
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


The good news is that your data is good. Your file is not displaying correctly in ArcGIS because the spatial index for a shapefile is not updated during editing in QGIS. The comment reply by elrobis has an excellent suggestion to use ogr2ogr to export the file, which should fix the index problem. Simply deleting the spatial index files (.sbn and .sbx) will also work.

You can rebuild the index within ArcGIS by exporting the shapefile to a new shapefile.

  • Saving a new copy w/QGIS did not work, and I am not very astute with the other options suggested. I asked our IT folks to help me interpret the suggestions received on this site, and they decided to simply restore the copy on the backup server, which lost a small amount of my data but not much. I will need to improve to be able to take advantage of the solutions suggested. Thanks for taking the time to review and respond.
    – user48144
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 19:32

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