introduce a zipped shapefile format (SHZ)

07-13-2014 01:03 AM
Status: Open
Occasional Contributor
like the KML/KMZ format. Of course applications will need to read/write this format directly, without the user zipping/unzipping. 

Rationale: I see many casual users confused by the concept of a shapefile consisting of multiple files, and when passing on shapefiles by email or upoloading to AGOL (a) they curently have to zip/unzip manualy and (b) tend to forget some bits. A SHZ format would make these things much more straightforward for users.

I am aware that reading/writing into zipped files does impact on performance, but the KMZ format shows that it can be done.
I was under the impression if one wishes to distribute data they would create a layer package file, this creates a single compressed file. The nice thing about these is that you are forced to provide some simple documentation about what the data is rather than sending a file called "export_output"...
this is a great idea!

@Horbydd: why should i be forced to provide even simple documentation about a a dataset if it's not necessary? if someone knows what the data is but just wants the latest version, chucking them an export_output might be completely acceptable
QGIS has allowed you to use shapefiles stored in .zip files in their Desktop GIS for quite some time.  Seems like a feature that should have been added by now.
I think ESRI has been trying to kill off the shapefile so I don't see them creating a modified format that the older products like ArcView 3.x and ArcGIS 8.1-10.2.2 won't be able to read.  Not that I don't think it's a good idea.  Especially since the File Geodatabase has not seen much use outside of ESRI products.
Too late! There is already a NEW, open, existing, working  standard format  endorsed by OGC called a GeoPackage!
This uses Spatialite which is  Sqlite3 with a simple spatial extension. I predict it will sweep the use of shapefiles away within a few years. It has all the benefits of a shapefile, editable in place, spatial indexing, projections.

Haven't heard of Sqlite? It is the most popular database in the word that is already built into the operating system of every phone (Apple, Android, Nokia) and is well supported. It is already built into Python 2.6+

Spatialite is already supported in all the open GIS packages and it is even there in ArcGIS at 10.2!
Not fully supported for editing yet, but it will be. Start now by searching for spatialite in the help document.
Spatialite will be used as a capable geodatabase on mobile devices.

Have a look at sqlite. It is very fast, compact, SQL compliant and comes in a single file. Note it is a single user database, but that makes it much simpler. A web server application is only one user.