The Export Shapefile command allows the user to export any loaded vector data sets to ESRI Shapefile format files.

When selected, the command displays the Shapefile Export Options dialog (pictured below) which allows the user to set up the export. The dialog consists of a File Selection, an Attribute Setup, Tiling, and an Export Bounds tabs which allows the user to set up the portion of the loaded vector data they wish to export.

  The Export Areas, Export Lines, and Export Points options enable area, line, and point export respectively. Pressing the Select... button next to each of those options allows you to select the name of the SHP file to generate.

In addition to the SHP file containing the actual geometry of the features, an shape index file (SHX) and attribute database file (DBF) will be created as well with the same name as the SHP file.

The Attribute Options allow for additional control over when and how attributes are exported to the shapefile. Select Character Set for Text supports the display of text in a character set other than the current system character set. When this is checked the text from a DBF file is not converted from the character set stored in the DBF file to the system active character set, but is kept native.  

In general, Global Mapper will automatically determine an appropriate field type and length for any attributes exported to the DBF file created along with a Shapefile based on the values of the attribute data being exported. However, if your input data includes Shapefiles or DBF files, the original field type and length for an attribute will be used unless the attribute values being exported make that impossible.

The Split Export Based On option splits up the export into separate files based on the feature type/classification, feature description, feature name, or any attribute found in the loaded data.

Choose the Split on Feature Type option, to get the export split based on the feature classification, except in the case of the unknown types, in which case the feature description will be used automatically. The type/description/name/attribute value of the features stored in each file will be appended on to the end of the selected filenames.

The Discard Attributes When All Values are Empty option will discard any attributes on export if all values for the attribute in the features being exported to the file are blank

If selected, the Generate Projection (PRJ) File option causes a projection file describing the ground reference system of the shapefile to be generated for each shapefile created. The PRJ files will have the same name as the SHP file with the .prj extension.

If selected, the Add Feature Type (LAYER) Attribute to DBF option specifies that the type description for each exported feature will be added as a LAYER attribute to the DBF file generated with the SHP file.


If selected, the Add Style Attributes to DBF option specifies that style attributes should be added to the generated DBF file containing information about the drawing style and label font used for each feature. If you check this then when you reload your data in Global Mapper (but typically not other applications) it should maintain its drawing style.

If selected, the Generate 3D Features Using Loaded Elevation Data option specifies that 3D objects should be created in the shapefile. The elevation stored for each vertex/point will be the first of the following which is available:

If selected, the Generate Multi-Patch Features for Areas option specifies that multi-patch features should be generated for area exports rather than normal polygon records. This is useful for exporting 3D models, such as those you would load from Google SketchUp SKP files.

If selected, the Save Feature Elevations as Measures option specifies that Measure features (i.e. PolyLineM, PointM) should be created. The per-vertex elevations will be stored as the Measure values. Typically you might use this if your per-vertex elevations are actually something like shotpoint numbers and not really elevations.

Use Generate Side Areas for Extruded 3D Areas to generate a 3D area feature with the extrusion mode. When exporting a 3D Shapefile with this checked.  additional areas for the sides and bottom of the 3D area are created, similar to a 3D box for a building.

The Attribute Setup tab will contain a list of the default Attributes that will be exported to the dataset, and contain the following information on the Attributes in a grid:

Name - the name of the attribute as stored in Global Mapper

Export Name - the name of the attribute as it will appear in the exported file

Type - the data type for the attribute

Length - the length of the data

Precision - number of digits right of the decimal for floating point data

The contents of the Type, Length, and Precision columns can be changed by clicking on the grid cell. The Name and Export Name columns are read-only.

When the user clicks on a cell in the Type column, a drop-down list containing the supported data types will be displayed.  The user can select one of the types from the list.

When the user clicks on a cell in the Length or Precision column, the column can be edited in place, allowing the user to type a new value directly into the cell.  If the user types a lower value into the Length or Precision column, GM will display a warning indicating that that action may cause a loss of data. A Precision value can only be entered if the Type is 'Float'.

The tab also contains a button that will remove the selected column(s) from the export.

Note that the grid contains all of the attributes on the layers that are available for export.  If the user chooses to export a subset of the data (e.g.,  only area features), then only the attributes associated with the designated features will be exported.  Any changes made in the grid will be applied when the attributes are exported.


WARNING: The Shapefile format uses a DBF file for attribute storage, which means that any attribute names are limited to 10 characters. Any attribute names longer than that will be truncated with a number potentially added on to maintain uniqueness among multiple long attribute names.