Local Insight Help Centre


Import your Shapefile

User Permissions note:

Only Group Admins can import shapefiles


Preparing the Shapefile:

In order to import the shapefile as expected, in addition to the mandatory file requirements in our Introduction to the Shapefile Importer article, the shapefile will need to meet the following criteria:

  • The shapefile must contain only 1 layer - The tool loops through all polygons in 1 layer, so please remove all other layers
  • Polygons must not have any holes/cutout areas - For example, a ring doughnut shape will be rejected
  • The areas will need to be singular polygons rather than multiple polygons - For example, an area that contains 2 or more non-connected polygons will not be imported.
  • The shapefile's attribute table must have a name column - please add this from within your GIS platform, then export your shapefile. 
  • The shapefile's Coordinate Reference System (CRS) must be World Geodetic System (WGS84) - please define this for your shapefile from within your GIS platform, then export your shapefile.

Please note: 

If you are unsure how to prepare the shapefile correctly, you may wish to liaise with your GIS team so they can provide you with a shapefile that meets the above requirements.

Once you have created your shapefile, you are ready to begin uploading and importing your shapefile.

Name field:

Here you will need to enter the term used in the shapefile that identifies the name-field for each area.

For example, your .dbf file should have a column which contains the name of each area to import. You should enter the text you have used in the column header to identify it as the 'area name' column. Read how to open your .dbf file to locate the name field.


This name field is case sensitive, so please double check before uploading/entering


File Selection:

To upload your shapefile to Local Insight you will need to have your zipped shapefile ready.

Please note: The shapefile must include all of the following files: .shp, .shx, .dbf.
If the shapefile was originally created with more than required 3 files, you will need to include all of these in the zip file. Do not edit these files after exporting from your GIS platform

Click 'Choose File' and select your zip file on your computer.

Importing the Shapefile:

Please note:

  • Your areas will all be added to the category 'Uncategorised', so we recommend moving any areas you have here already into another category.
  • Once you have completed the above, you are ready to import the shapefile.


Clicking import will disable the button to prevent further submissions. It will then upload, check the file, and process the areas in your shapefile. This process can take some time (sometimes in excess of 10 minutes).


If you have received an error and you're unsure as to what it means, take a look at our article Why has my shapefile import failed?

When will my Shapefile areas be ready to use?

Once processed, you should receive a success message at the top of the screen. You will then be free to browse your custom areas to see your new areas added to the 'Uncategorised' category.