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Esri Shapefile Reader/Writer

The Esri® Shapefile Reader and Writer module allows FME to read and write Esri’s shapefile format.

The shapefile format is a geospatial vector data format for geographic information system (GIS) software. It is developed and regulated by Esri as a (mostly) open specification for data interoperability among Esri and other GIS software products.

In this example, geographic features (campsite, campground, forest, roads) are represented in a shapefile by points, lines, and polygons (areas). Each item usually has attributes that describe it, such as name, temperature, or XY coordinates.


ESRI shapefiles store both geometry and attributes for features. No topological information is stored.

A shapefile is a logical construct that consists of a series of physical files with different extensions. These extensions are added to the base name of the shapefile. All files must reside in the same folder.

Reader Overview

The Shapefile reader produces FME features for all feature data held in shapefiles that reside in the specified folder.

  1. Specify Reader Format (Esri Shapefile) and Dataset (.shp file)
  2. Optional: Specify Esri Shapefile Reader Parameters.
  3. Click OK.

The Shapefile reader first scans the folder for the shapefiles that have been defined in the workspace. For each shapefile it finds, it checks to see if that file is requested by looking at the list of feature types specified in the workspace. If a match is made or no feature types were specified in the workspace, the Shapefile is opened to be read.

The Shapefile reader extracts features one at a time from the file and passes them on to the rest of FME for further processing. When the file is exhausted, the Shapefile reader starts on the next file in the folder.

Writer Overview

The Shapefile writer creates and writes feature data to shapefiles in the folder specified in the writer dataset field.

  1. Specify Writer Format (Esri Shapefile) and Dataset (folder name)
  2. Optional: Specify Esri Shapefile Writer Parameters.
  3. Click OK.

Any old shapefiles in the folder are overwritten with the new feature data. As features are routed to the Shapefile writer by FME, it determines the file they are to be written to and outputs them according to the type of the file.

Many shapefiles can be written during a single FME session.

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