Connecting CMaps Analytics Designer to a Shapefile

IntroWhat is a Shapefile?Custom Regions

All CMaps Analytics tools, support direct connectivity to ESRI Shapefiles (.SHP) without any server-side scripts or middleware software. This provides instant display of custom territories, polygons, administrative areas, shapes, thematic maps, or linear assets.

Shapefiles in CMaps Analytics are loaded independent of your business data. Instead,  CMaps Analytics automatically blends data from Shapefiles with your business data to create visualizations like heatmaps.

What is a Shapefile?

The ESRI Shapefile or simply a shapefile is a popular geo-spatial vector data format for geographic information systems (GIS) software. The standard was developed and regulated by ESRI as an open specification for data interoperability among ESRI and other software products. The benefit of a shapefile is that it is highly compressed and portable, enabling software applications to load large volumes of binary, geographic data.

When obtaining your Shapefiles, you will typically get a minimum of 3 files:


The SHP file contains the data required to plot data points that make up the shapes. The .SHP file is linked directly to GMaps Plugin, where it is rendered as a layer.


Database file table contains all of the meta data that describes each individual shape in the .SHP file. The DBF is extremely important because the SHP file does not contain any meta data required for labels in your map.


Index file used to combine SHP and DBF file for GIS solutions. This file is required to maintain the integrity of the files when used with GIS solutions. GMaps Plugin does NOT utilize the SHX, but it is important to keep all 3 files together in case if you need to edit the shape data within a GIS solution.

Shapefile Requirements for use with CMaps Analytics

  • CMaps Analytics only supports the Polygon, Polygon-Z and Polyline shape types.
  • Shapefile projection should be WGS 84
  • Shapefile sizing should be less than 2MB for the best dashboard or application performance
  • At Centigon Solutions, we have prepared common geo-data and collected resources for you to locate and download geo data in Shapefile format.

Creating your own Regions and Territories

Most organizations operate with custom territories or geographic regions. Shapefiles provide the perfect base for editing and compiling custom regions. Quantum GIS basic GIS capabilities for merging and saving Shapefiles. CMaps Region Creator, provides automation to the region/territory creation process.