I've recently been given a set of files to work on/analyze with QGIS, but they seem to be missing any .shp files.

Basically, the data is organized into a bunch of folders labelled land, water, etc. and in each of the folders are a few .dbf files and then a bunch of files with no extensions. Here's an excerpt from one of the ones with no extension that I opened in a text editor:

' & è à ZJA àqžVA @bÂKA `ShWA
Ÿ­WJ†Ú¹J å [Jœ«¹J ”ÔWJßt¹J
ãUJƒ¹J léWJqú¸J

All the files with no extension look something like that; I've tried converting them into .shp files but QGIS still can't understand them. Do I need the .shp to do anything ?

  • 4
    Do the files with no extension have names that match the .dbf files? Are you sure they really don't have any extension or that Windows (or your operating system) isn't hiding the extensions because that's set in the operating system? Any chance you can make any of this available to us? Or you may have to go back to the source and ask them for more.
    – Spacedman
    Aug 13 '20 at 9:35

Shapefiles require three files (ESRI Shapefile Technical Description):

  1. main file; example.shp
  2. index file; example.shx
  3. dBASE table; example.dbf

An ESRI shapefile consists of a main file, an index file, and a dBASE table. The main file is a direct access, variable-record-length file in which each record describes a shape with a list of its vertices. In the index file, each record contains the offset of the corresponding main file record from the beginning of the main file. The dBASE table contains feature attributes with one record per feature.

Without these three files, you will not be able to use your shapefile.

  • Also you will need .prj file to locate featues in the correct location.
    – Amadeus
    Aug 13 '20 at 5:33
  • ..unless the features are points and the DBF contains the X and Y (lat/long) coordinates in two columns.
    – Spacedman
    Aug 13 '20 at 9:33
  • 3
    @Amadeus .prj files are great to have but they are not required in order to use the shapefile.
    – Dan C
    Aug 13 '20 at 13:55

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