In the next example, called
ch09_shp, we implement a method to import binary layers to our maps. Shapefile is an old specification to store vector data; however, it is still a very common and popular exchange format. It stores the geometry in a binary file, which has an
shp MIME type. There are usually at least three more files along with the geometry. The
shx file stores the shape indexes of the geometries in a binary format, providing an internal spatial indexing for faster lookups. The
prj file is an ASCII file containing the projection string of the layer, while the
dbf file is a dBASE database file containing attribute data. For this example to work, we will need at least the
dbf files of a shapefile.