As a newbie in GIS, I didn't fail to make a newbie mistake. While editing a point layer I accidentaly deleted all the introduced data. I duplicated a layer, as it was more convenient (same style and attributes), but forgot to save it as a new layer before editing it and saving it. It resulted in the deletion of all the previously introduced points.

It appears nonetheless that the datas haven't totaly disapear. If I open for instance the related .dbf file with notepad, it still show the deleted lines (not the case in excell though). Same is true for the shapefile that weighs much more than the empty one I saved later.

Is there a way to retrieve the lost data and to make them reappear on the layer?

Thanks for your help.


ESRI offers these tools to recover damaged shapefiles:



The second one is described here: http://www.aubreyrhea.net/gis/index.php/2009/10/using-shpchk-to-fix-damaged-shapefiles/

Separating the .shx and .dbf files from the .shp might give you a chance to recover the geometry.


You can actually recover your deleted features by opening the shapefile in ArcGIS.

If you deleted some features in QGIS, they actually arent deleted until you "save as" your shapefile. If you just "save" your shapefile, the deleted features are just marked as deleted but they are actually still there.

ArcGIS doesnt recognize this "deleted" flag and will display all your features (also the deleted ones). Upon export in ArcGIS your shapefile is correct again.

  • This may be true, but the OP tagged the question with QGIS. – John Powell Apr 28 '16 at 10:44
  • Yes I know.. but this is "Is there a way to retrieve the lost data" So I guess its still quite helpful.. – Lucasvw May 2 '16 at 9:18
  • Yes, OK, fair enough. – John Powell May 2 '16 at 9:20

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