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Vector Format Files

This document lists supported vector formats, and explains how to import and visualize data from these formats in a map control. The following vector formats are supported.

Shapefiles

A Shapefile (Esri Shapefile) is a vector format that represents geographic data (e.g., rivers, lakes, and countries) using geometric shapes (e.g., points, polylines, and polygons). Data in this format is usually stored in two files:

  • a .shp file, which contains data about geometric shapes;
  • a .dbf file, which contains data associated with geometric shapes from the corresponding .shp file.
Note

To learn more about the Shapefile format, refer to Shapefile (Wikipedia).

The image below illustrates country shapes, along with supplemental information (country names and GDP above country shapes) loaded from a Shapefile.

Concepts_VectorData_FileFormats_Shapefile

To load shapes from a Shapefile, do the following.

Note

Make sure the Build Action property of both shape files is set to Content.

When data is loaded from a Shapefile, the Map control generates a collection of vector items stored in a VectorFileLayer. Note that in this case, data from a .dbf file is stored as attributes in each vector item object. This approach allows you, for instance, to use this data to colorize shapes or display supplementary information in shape tooltips.

To learn how this can be done, see the How to: Load Vector Data from Shapefile topic.

KML

Using the Map control, you can load and depict any set of geographic visualization data (placemarks, polygons, images, textual descriptions, etc.) stored in the KML (Keyhole Markup Language) format. KML files have a tag-based structure with nested elements (similar to the XML standard).

Note

For more information, see the following link: KML Documentation (on developers.google.com).

One of the common usage scenarios for the KML format is to display vector data above an image tiles map. For instance, the image below shows the Liberty Island shape loaded from a KML file.

Concepts_Layers_VectorFileLayer_KML

To load geographic data from a KML file, do the following.

Note

Make sure the Build Action property of a KML file is set to Content.

To learn how this can be done, see the How to: Load Vector Data from a KML File topic.

See Also