I've got more than 200 shapefiles of points representing different information for the same location. I would like to make as many maps as shapefiles with identical background and extent. I'd rather use QGIS, but ArcGIS 9.3/10 would be ok too. I found EasyPrint and Atlas, which are great, but both are zooming on the shapefile.. which I don't want to. Atlas is way better as it lets you use your own print composer.. but it only wants one shapefile (coverage) while I've got many.

Any idea on what I could use? I don't mind a bit of programming, especially because that would save me a looooot of time!

  • So you want to iterate over the same coverage but display different information each time? Just a different polygon or also a different map title, table etc?
    – Willy
    Jul 4, 2012 at 10:55
  • At the moment the points I want to map are stored in different shapefiles. Different map title, generated from a field of the shapefile would be good. I was thinking of using the legend if the title was not working, as used in the plugin Atlas. Jul 4, 2012 at 12:31
  • I'm going through the exact same search to find a suitable plugin/solution in Qgis. Your question dates from quite some time ago. Did you find a solution in the meantime? I don't really find an answer to this question somewhere on the internet ...
    – Jonas
    Oct 7, 2016 at 13:38
  • Can you merge the shapefiles into one? What are your attributes like? What do you want to show in the resulting maps? Oct 7, 2016 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


Build a shapefile specifically to control Atlas. Probably you could do this by merging the 200 shapefiles to one.

  • As far as I understand Atlas iterates through each feature of the 'coverage' (shapefile), so because each current shapefiles are made of multiple points, if I merged them all Atlas would represent point per point. Is that right? Otherwise I had thought of creating lines joining all the points and then it's possible to use Atlas and represent what I need. The issue then is that it centers around the feature while I want to keep the same extent. Jul 5, 2012 at 11:18
  • You can keep the same extent. Just don't make the map controlled by the atlas. Oct 7, 2016 at 14:35

A solution that works in ArcGIS 9.x is the Zoom Through and Export Graphic file, by Ken Buja. You cannot use it with ArcGIS version 10.x though.

You have to merge ALL pointshapefiles in to one shapefile (or geodatabasefeature) to get the tool to do what you want. For example I´ve used it to create more than 1100 maps of spieces distribution, one per species. The field in the attribute tabel where the species names was stored was used to select which data to show in the map. Also the header in layout and the file name was derived from the same field in the attribute tabel.

I´m searching for that functionality for QGIS (or ArcGIS 10.x) but cannot find it, so far.

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