The shapefile format is a geospatial data format. It is developed and regulated by Esri as a mostly open specification for data interoperability among Esri and other GIS software products. The shapefile format can spatially describe vector features: points, lines, and polygons, representing, for example, water wells, rivers, and lakes.
The term "shapefile" is quite common, but the format consists of a collection of files with a common filename prefix, stored in the same directory. The three mandatory files have filename extensions .shp, .shx, and .dbf.
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