Friday, December 11, 2015

How to e-mail a shapefile

Most GIS professionals are familiar with e-mailing shapefiles.  We've been doing it for a while.  However, for folks just starting out or for those who use ArcMap the process of e-mailing a shapefile may be a little mystifying.  Nonetheless, sharing your data is one of the most valuable GIS skills.  Recently I answered this question for a colleague.

Here is what I wrote:

"It depends on the kind of information that she needs/wants.  If he/she wants both the geographic and attribute data then the best way is to take all of the files associated with the shapefile and put them in a zip file together.  At a minimum you'd need the .shp, .shx, .dbf, but often there is .proj, .shp.xml, .sbn, and even .cpg.  You'll need to use My Computer/Windows Explorer to view all of these files.  ArcGIS treats them as if they are one. The zip file keeps all files together.  It isn't a necessary step, but it is often easier than sending all of the files as individual attachments.

If she/he is just interested in the attribute data or doesn't have ArcGIS then there are two ways to go.

1.  In the attribute table select the rows by highlighting them on the left and then copy and paste into Excel.  Lately I've been finding this method to not work in 10.3, however.

2.  Open Excel.  Open the .dbf file.  Copy and paste all of the contents into a new Excel file without altering the original .dbf (or it can corrupt the shapefile).

Finally, don't forget to check the size.  Anything larger than about 27 Mb probably won't e-mail, although file size limits are specific to the e-mail service used."

No comments:

Post a Comment