AWIPS Tips: Import Shapefiles in CAVE

AWIPS Tips

Welcome back to AWIPS Tips! This week we’re diving into another way to display data in CAVE. We’ve gone over some of the more standard ways – through menu items, the volume browser, and the product browser. Today we’ll discuss another option which is available to users: importing a shapefile. For those who aren’t familiar, GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems, and is the discipline of creating, managing, and analyzing geographically referenced data. These data can represent both vector and raster features on a globe, and can be stored in a number of different file types. In CAVE, there is the option to import shapefiles, which contain points, lines, or polygons with associated attributes for each record.

To import a shapefile into CAVE, select File > Import > GIS Data...

GIS DataStore Parameters dialog
GIS DataStore Parameters dialog

Select Browse… to open a file chooser and navigate to the folder containing your shapefile.

NOTE: A shapefile is a collection of files. At a minimum, a shapefile will have a .shp, .shx, and .dbf file to represent features, however there may be additional files associated with the data you are working with.

Then select Connect. The dialog will update to show the available choices in the Table section.

Shapefile imported to GIS DataStore Parameters dialog
Shapefile imported to GIS DataStore Parameters dialog

To load the file into CAVE, select the desired table entry (in this case there is only one: sst_io.20210613) and select OK to load the file.

The table entry name will show up in the Resource Stack, similar to other maps, and all style and customization options will be available in its corresponding menu. This particular example shows NOAA Sea Surface Temperature data as a contour, and has had the line style, label, magnification, and color modified in CAVE.

Example stylized shapefile in CAVE map editor
Example stylized shapefile in CAVE map editor

Shapefiles can provide a great way to add an extra layer of context and analysis to any data viewed in CAVE. We hope you enjoyed this week’s AWIPS Tips, and please check back in two weeks for the next blog post about loading new Grib2 data into EDEX.

To view archived blogs, visit the AWIPS Tips blog tag, and get notified of the latest updates from the AWIPS team by signing up for the AWIPS mailing list. Questions or suggestions for the team on future topics? Let us know at support-awips@unidata.ucar.edu

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