Local Insight Help Centre


Introduction to the Shapefile Importer

User Permissions note:

  • Only Group Admins can import shapefiles.
  • The shapefile importer allows the user to create any number of custom areas, simultaneously, by uploading a single shapefile.

What is a Shapefile?


The following is a thorough description from arcgis.com

A shapefile is a simple, nontopological format for storing the geometric location and attribute information of geographic features. Geographic features in a shapefile can be represented by points, lines, or polygons (areas). The workspace containing shapefiles may also contain dBASE tables, which can store additional attributes that can be joined to a shapefile's features.

Below is an example of how shapefiles appear in ArcCatalog. You can also see the dBASE file (that may be associated with a shapefile).


So, what does this mean in practice?

In order to import shapefiles into Local Insight, you will need a zipped file that contains three mandatory fields:

  • .shp - contains the geometry data itself
  • .shx - This is a compiled shape file
  • .dbf - this is the 'database' file
    • Seen as 'dBASE table' in the above definition
    • This file stores the attributes for each shape in a table

You may want to liaise with your GIS team to ensure the files you want to upload are in the correct format.

What will the areas look like?

Each area in your shapefile will become an individual custom area and the boundary will display on the map in the same way as other areas. 

Who has access to this feature?

Only Group Admins are able to import shapefiles. Once the shapefile has successfully imported, the newly created custom areas can then be edited as normal by Power Users or Group Admins (for more detail on user roles see our user permissions guide).