[Qgis-us-user] Newbie question about importing shapefiles and layers from Arcmaps

Randal Hale rjhale at northrivergeographic.com
Thu Mar 3 13:18:07 PST 2022

So that's the confusing (sort of) nature of shapefiles. 
     *  shp holds the geometry 
     *  dbf holds the data 
     *  shx connects the two (at least I think I'm remembering this right)

QGIs knows if you add the shp it needs the other files and grabs those automatically - so 
there's no need to add them. Same with the tiff - it grabs what it needs once you add the 
main file. You do need all the files - they aren't redundant - you just don't have to add 
them one by one to QGIS. 

As far as converting work from QGIS <-> MXD - Oh. That's part of the pain. Someone on 
the main QGIS list asked about that tool the other day. I've not used it. 


On Thursday, March 3, 2022 4:11:48 PM EST Judith Kerman wrote:
> Thanks, all. The essential question is that, when I look under the hood at
> ArcMaps files, there are multiple files, for instance (shapefiles): .cpg,
> .dbf, .prj, .sbn, .sbx, .shp, shp.xml, shx.
> If I try to bring them in one by one, I get invalid data type messages for
> .cpg, .sbn, .prj, .shp.xml and .sbx
> The file types .dbf, .shx and .shp work fine, but all look the same,
> including the attribute table. They all have coordinate systems, and they
> overlay the way they should visually.
> Similarly, the New York State Orthographic imagery has .aux, .j2w, .jp2,
> and .tab
> When I bring in a file, I can bring in .aux, but QGIS flags it as having a
> Read Block error,, and .jp2, which seems to be fine, shows the data just
> like it looks in Arcmaps, and seems to contain coordinates. For the other
> file types (.j2w and .tab), I get an invalid data type message.
> I understand that to get raster files from Arcmaps itself, I have to export
> as a TIFF. That works fine, too, and again seems to have coordinates.
> The question is: am I losing any data that is contained in the "invalid"
> files? Do I need all three of the kinds of shapefile subfiles that seem to
> work? They all have the same attribute table contents. Why would ESRI use 8
> different subfiles for a "shapefile" and the NY Ortho use 4 (evidently
> needed for Arcmaps) if they contain only redundant information? Am I safe
> just using one of the ones that work, such as .shp and .p2, and not
> worrying about the rest?
> Hope that makes the question clearer.
> Followup question;:
> It would be lovely to just be able to import my Arcmaps work instead of
> rebuilding everything. I understand SLYER is expensive. I found an open
> source plugin, Mxd2Qgs, that suppsedly would import my map packages, but I
> don't understand the documentation. Suggestions?
> Thanks! Glad I found this list!
> Judy

Randal Hale 
North River Geographic Systems, Inc 
(p) 423.653.3611 
(e) rjhale at northrivergeographic.com
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