ShapeLib Tools - User Guide

ShapeLib is maintained by Frank Warmerdam
This guide was created by Eduardo Patto Kanegae < eduardo~at~consultoria~dot~eti~dot~br >


Purpose: creates a new and empty .dbf file.
Usage: dbfcreate xbase_file [[-s field_name width],[-n field_name width decimals]]...
$ dbfcreate testbase -s NAME 20, -n AREA 9 3, -n VALUE 9 2
# this will create a file named testbase.dbf with 3 fields: NAME ( string (20)), AREA ( float (9,3)) and VALUE ( float (9,2))


Purpose: adds a record into an existing .dbf file.
Usage: dbfadd xbase_file field_values
$ dbfadd testbase.dbf REGION1 25.656 150.22
# assuming that testbase.dbf has 3 fields( NAME, AREA and VALUE), this command line will insert a new record into testbase.dbf with the value "REGION1" for NAME, '25.656' for AREA and '150.22' for VALUE field.


Purpose: dumps the content of a xBase file to the terminal.
Usage: dbfdump [-h] [-r] [-m] xbase_file
$ dbfdump -h testbase.dbf
# assuming that testbase.dbf has 1 record( inserted by previous example using 'dbfadd'), this command line will produce the following output:
Field 0: Type=String, Title=`NAME', Width=20, Decimals=0
Field 1: Type=Double, Title=`AREA', Width=9, Decimals=3
Field 2: Type=Double, Title=`VALUE', Width=9, Decimals=2
REGION1 25.656 150.22


Purpose: creates a new and empty shapefile.
Usage: shpcreate shp_file [point|arc|polygon|multipoint]
$ shpcreate testpolygon polygon
# this will create a point shapefile named testpolygon( in fact testpolygon.shp and testpolygon.shx will be created).


Purpose: adds a shape into an existing shapefile.
Usage: shpadd shp_file [[x y] [+]]*
$ shpadd testpolygon 100000 7000000 250000 6500000 200000 6000000 100000 7000000
# assuming that testpolygon is a polygon shapefile, this command line will insert a new shape( a triangle) into testpolygon with the following XY coordinates:
vertice 0: 100000 7000000 ( this will also be the vertice where the shape starts and ends)
vertice 1: 250000 6500000
vertice 2: 200000 6000000
vertice 3: 100000 7000000


Purpose: dumps content of shapefile showing information like shape type, file extents, total of objects and vertices coordinates.
Usage: shpdump [-validate] shp_file
$ shpdump testpolygon
# assuming that testpolygon is an existing shapefile previously created, this command line will output the following result:
Shapefile Type: Polygon   # of Shapes: 1

File Bounds: (  100000.000, 6000000.000,0,0)
         to  (  250000.000, 7000000.000,0,0)

Shape:0 (Polygon)  nVertices=4, nParts=1
  Bounds:(  100000.000, 6000000.000, 0, 0)
      to (  250000.000, 7000000.000, 0, 0)
     (  100000.000, 7000000.000, 0, 0) Ring
     (  250000.000, 6500000.000, 0, 0)
     (  200000.000, 6000000.000, 0, 0)
     (  100000.000, 7000000.000, 0, 0)


Purpose: validates and resets the winding order of rings in polygon geometries to match the ordering required by shapefile specification. This is usefull for shapefiles having troubles when checked with a 'shpdump -validate'.
Usage: shprewind in_shp_file out_shp_file
$ shprewind badshapefile newshapefile


Purpose: displays basic information for a given xBase file, like number of columns, number of records and type of each column.
Usage: dbfinfo xbase_file
$ dbfinfo testbase
Info for testbase.dbf
3 Columns,  1 Records in file
           NAME          string  (20,0)
           AREA           float  (9,3)
          VALUE           float  (9,2)


Purpose: appends the records of a source xBase file into a destiny xBase file. Both files must have the same number of fields.
Usage: dbfcat [-v] [-f] from_DBFfile to_DBFfile
$ dbfcat -v testbase1 testbase2


Purpose: displays basic information for a given shapefile, like shapefile type, number of objects and its extents.
Usage: shpinfo shp_file
$ shpinfo testpolygon
Info for testpolygon
Polygon(5), 1 Records in file
File Bounds: (         100000,        6000000)
        (         250000,        7000000)


Purpose: appends the content of a source shapefile into a destiny shapefile. Both files must be the same shapefile type.
Usage: shpcat from_shpfile to_shpfile
$ shpcat shapefile1 shapefile2


Purpose: computes XY centroid for polygon shapefiles.
Usage: shpcentrd shp_file new_shp_file
$ shpcentrd apolygonfile pointcentrd


Purpose: creates a DXF file from an existing shapefile.
Usage: shpdxf shapefile {idfield}
$ shpdxf testshapefile IDFIELD
# explain the command


Purpose: Utility program to fix nulls and inconsistencies in Shapefiles as happens from time to time.
Usage: shpfix shpfile new_file <Record# to Blank>
$ shpfix broken fixed


Purpose: Reproject Shapefiles using PROJ.4
Usage: shpproj shp_file new_shp ( -i=in_proj_file | -i="in_params" | -i=geographic ) ( -o=out_info_file | -o="out_params" | -o=geographic )

Input can come from one of three sources. A projection parameter file, directly through parameters or geographic. If the shapefile has an associated prj file, name the same as the shapefile but ending in ".prj" it will be used by default ignoring all other parameters. If input is omitted it defaults to geographic, unless the default prj file exists.

Output can come from one of three sources. A projection parameter file, directly through parameters or geographic. If output is omitted it defaults to geographic.

This file MUST end with the extension ".prj". It has the form of one projection parameter per line. Parameters can be in any order. The projection parameters are those used to define a PROJ.4 projection.

Are the same as used by proj and invproj.

  use      proj -lP   to see available projections
	   proj -lu   to see available units
	   proj -le   to see available ellipsoid
Or visit the PROJ.4 web page at for more details.

the following example projects file rowtest to row3, moving data from Stateplane NAD83 zone 1002 to utm zone 16 in meters

shpproj rowtest row -i="init=nad83:1002 units=us-ft" -o="proj=utm zone=16 units=m"

shpproj rowtest row3 -o="proj=utm zone=18 units=m" -i="zone=16 proj=utm units=us-ft"

shpproj rowtest row3 -o="proj=utm zone=18 units=m" 

shpproj rowtest row3 -i=myfile.prj -o=geographic
shpproj rowtest row3 -is=myfile.prj