[postgis-users] getting past the 254 character limit of .DBFs

Stephen Woodbridge woodbri at swoodbridge.com
Fri May 7 13:09:02 PDT 2010

David Benjamin Lang Lang wrote:
> I'm trying to join a table to a shapefile.  This table has three or
> four columns that are longer than the 254 character limit, so when I
> convert the table into a .DBF I lose a large portion of my data.  I
> had hoped to use pgsql2shp as a work-around but that didn't work.
> My end product will eventually be displayed online, so I'm thinking
> that I could connect to the data using the webpage rather than the
> map, and use the map as the method for linking the two, but I'd
> rather not have to make each of the offending cells contain a refence
> to another table.
> Aside from postgres and postgis I've been using ArcMap and ArcCatalog
> along with Excel.
> Any help is appreciated. David

The 254 char limit is just that! It is a limit in the spec you can not 
get around it in a shapefile. I think DBF file have the ability to 
define a memo field that can hold large blobs of text, but I have never 
seen one in a shapefile and I'm not sure that they are even support in 
the shapefile spec.

You probably need to think about solving this problem outside the domain 
of shapefiles.

-Steve W

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