December 2011 | Q & A

Creating custom shapefiles in SOCET GXP

Casey Lossman

Casey Lossman

How do I create custom shapefiles in SOCET GXP?

SOCET GXP has functionality for creating both standard and custom, user-defined shapefiles.

In SOCET GXP v3.1.1 and beyond a shapefile is defined by a Specification File, the backbone or structure of the shapefile, and a Style Sheet, the symbology or graphics properties of the shapefile. SOCET GXP includes a default Specification File and a default Style Sheet. Both of these default values, configured in the Preferences file, can be customized and saved as new default values for an individual project.

A Specification File is the outline for the shapefile. It defines the name, geometry type, and attributes of the feature. Attributes provide greater context and information about a shapefile. Attributes can be manual entry fields, fixed-value lists or auto-populated values from the image metadata, feature measurements, or the computer system.

The Style Sheet identifies the symbology or graphic properties of a feature. It defines the color, text size or type, line type, fill percentage, etc. of each of the different feature types defined in the Specification File. Features are symbolized in two ways, basic and advanced. Basic symbology assigns the same graphic properties to each feature in a shapefile, while advanced allows the user to symbolize the features in the shapefile based on their attributes.

The following steps describe how to create a custom Specification File and Style Sheet, and set them as default values in the preferences file. This procedure only needs to be completed once for multiple users supporting the same project. The files can be saved to a common shared location or common preference file for all users.

Feature Database Specification Definition and Attribute windows

Feature Database Specification Definition and Attribute windows

Creating a Specification File:

  1. From the Workspace Manager window, select File > New > Specification File.
  2. The Feature Database Specification Definition window opens.
  3. Click the Append Rows button Append Rows button to add new rows to the Classes table.
  4. In the Classes table populate the Feature Class field with a name, such as Roads, Urban Areas, Facility Outline, etc.) and, specify a geometry type (Point, Line, Polygon, Multiline, Text, etc.).
  5. Attributes can be assigned for each of the classes defined in the Classes table.
  6. Click the feature class name to highlight the row. In the bottom half of the window, in the Add box, click the Attribute button.
  7. Every attribute must have a name and type selected.
  8. The remaining window components are reconfigured based on the attribute type selected.
  9. The last box on the feature attributes window designates whether an attribute has a manual or auto-populated value.
  10. Save the Specification File.

Creating a Style Sheet:

  1. From the Workspace Manager, select File > New > Style Sheet.
  2. Click the Feature Database Specification button and browse to the Specification File that was created.
  3. All of the classes in the Specification File are populated in the Feature Class table.
  4. In the table, double-click the Symbol icon to create a new symbol.
  5. The Feature Class Graphic Properties window opens to allow all of the graphic properties to be set for each Feature class using the Next and Previous buttons at the top of the window.
  6. Save the Style Sheet.
Feature Style Sheet and Feature Class Graphic Properties windows

Feature Style Sheet and Feature Class Graphic Properties windows

Setting up default values in Preferences:

  1. From the Workspace Manager, select View > Preferences.
  2. In the Preferences window, expand Features and select Shapefiles.
  3. For the Default Specification File, browse to the file created.
  4. For the Default Style Sheet, browse to the file created.
Preferences window

Preferences window

Build products with the new defaults:

  1. Open an image into a Multiport.
  2. Navigate to the Draw tab and use the Active Layer pull-down menu to create custom shapefiles.
Active Layer drop-down menu

Active Layer drop-down menu

For more information and a detailed example, refer to the SOCET GXP Training Exercises, Creating a Specification File and Creating a Style Sheet, or contact a customer support representative.

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