Importing Data


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    Importing data into GIS Kit/Pro can happen in many places. You can choose to import data from the projects screen, from the main project menu, from any layer within a project, from safari, DropBox, or by opening an email attachment. Various data formats are supported for import, including:

    • GPX
    • KML/KMZ
    • Esri Shapefiles
    • Images: PNG, JPG, BMP, TIFF (See Raster)
    All of these data formats produce a layer that represents the file from which it was imported. When creating a new project, this becomes the top layer or "Master Project Layer" of the project. When importing externally such as from Safari or mail attachments, you will be prompted for the location of the imported layer.

    Details of each format are listed below.


    GPX is a common format for handheld GPS devices. Its main elements are waypoints, tracks, and routes. Track segments are created as individual features that share attributes with other segments belonging to the same track. This is somewhat of a special case that can only happen when importing files since there is no UI to create multi-geometries. What this means is changes in the attributes of one track segment will be reflected in the other as they are actually the same set of attributes.

    Another notable item is the way comments and descriptions are handled. Often times people will put the exact same information in the <cmt> and <desc> fields due to the variation in how various devices handle data. GIS Kit/Pro's GPX importer attempts to recognize this type of data duplication and consolidate them into a single Description field when they are exactly the same.


    KML is a very good format for communicating hierarchies and style information. It is a poor format for attributes since the only standard attribute is a description. For this reason most GIS systems will format all a feature's attributes as an HTML table and place them all into the description. This typically makes them fairly unusable. However, in GIS Kit/Pro an intelligent parser recognizes name/value pairs and splits them into separate attributes. The original type information is lost as everything is then treated as text, however, it is better than what you would get in other systems which is either nothing or a uneditable table!

    KMZ files are actually KML files compressed into a .zip and given a .kmz extension. This allows other files to be included, such as photos or raster imagery.

    The following is a list of the supported KML elements from the KML 2.2 specification (abstract elements not listed). Unsupported elements are allowed, they are just ignored. Also, proper capitalization is important.
    • description
    • Document
    • east
    • Folder
    • GroundOverlay
    • hotSpot
    • href
    • Icon
    • IconStyle
    • kml
    • LatLonBox
    • gx:LatLonQuad
    • LinearRing
    • LineString
    • LineStyle
    • longitude
    • MultiGeometry
    • name
    • north
    • outerBoundaryIs
    • Pair
    • Placemark
    • Point
    • Polygon
    • PolyStyle
    • rotation
    • south
    • Style
    • StyleMap
    • styleUrl
    • west
    If you suspect your KML file has problems you can use Google Earth for some degree of validation. By default Google Earth does not notify the user of many of the possible parsing errors. However, in the settings you can enable the viewing of import errors that can potentially help locate problems.

    Esri Shapefiles

    Shapefiles require the selection of a destination feature class. The user has three options at this point:
    • No feature class- a popular choice because it does not clutter the user's feature class datasets, however it does not facilitate instantiating further instances
    • Existing feature class- imported features will be given the default attributes from the selected feature class. If the fields in the Shapefile do not match they are not discarded. Because GIS Kit/Pro's flexible handling of attributes it simply treats them as "arbitrary attributes". For more information on arbitrary attributes see the section on attributes.
    • New feature class- GIS Kit/Pro will create a new feature class that contains all the attributes specified in the incoming Shapefile. This can be a handy way to avoid hand-entering attributes into a feature class. However, this method is not usually as popular because it tends to clutter the user's feature class datasets.

    Importing From External Applications

    To import from another application like Mail or Dropbox you need to navigate to that file in the other application. Each application has its own system for performing an "Open In..." Usually a long press on the file or finding a button with the words Open In will start the process. After the process is starting you choose from a list of apps that support importing that file. GIS Kit and GIS Pro will show up on the list. From that point the file will be imported into the GIS application.

    Next Topic: Exporting Data