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Geo-Refer logo Geographical Referencing Learning Resources

Mapping a Set of Points in MapShore

For this example, we shall use MapShore software that is supplied with SASPAC to map point data. First, we need to get the coordinates into a format which the mapping program is capable of interpreting and importing. MapShore can accept two types of point data file: its native Map91 format (.SYM) and a standard comma delimited text file (.CSV). For simplicity the CSV format will be used in this example . Each line of the CSV file should have a pair of easting and northing coordinates plus at least one additional field. A maximum of eight non-positional fields is allowed and one of them can be the filename of an image in either BMP or JPG format. The data fields in each line should be ordered consistently and separated by a comma as in the following example.


It is important to note that the point data file should not contain any header row at the beginning. The data composition and sequence can only be described to MapShore through a Setup (.SET) file which is created on the first occasion that the CSV file is imported into MapShore. The SET file should be saved at the same location and have the same filename as the CSV file. Additionally, the SET file enables the user to define the format of the easting and northing (4, 5 or 6 digits) and filtering options using Boolean expressions.

Preparing Point and Boundary Data

To complete the work in this example, you will need to click [here] to download .zip.

Save the file and unzip its content to a local folder. The point data are stored in " .csv" which is a CSV text file. The associated point setup file shares the same name but is with the SET extension as " .set". It is necessary for MapShore to have the associated boundary data in order to know where to map the point data. For those who have the full licence for SASPAC, you will find the MapShore Boundary (.BDY) data available in the program installation media or from the SASPAC helpdesk (info@saspac.org). Other common GIS data exchange formats such as MapInfo Interchange Format (.MIF) and ArcGIS Shape (.SHP) are also accepted by MapShore and can be obtained by UK academic users from the UKBORDERS service. For use in this example, a sample boundary data file (" .SHP") is supplied in the zip archive.

Retrieving Boundary Data and Mapping Point data in MapShore

If running MapShore in association with SASPAC, start SASPAC. Choose "Start MapShore" and then click OK if the Quickstart task menu is displayed otherwise select File > Run MAPSHORE. MapShore may also be run independently.

When the MapShore window appears, select Boundary > Retrieve... to import the police beat areas boundary data. Navigate to the location where the boundary data is saved and open the file. Make sure that the Files of type: is set to the Shape File Format (.SHP).

Retrieve boundary data in SHP file format

Click the "ZONEID" label and then OK to make it the area ID. After that you will be prompted to choose area name, click "ZLABEL" and then OK.

Display boundary data in MapShore

The boundary data are used by MapShore to set the areal extent for mapping the point data file.

Select Data > Retrieve Point Data... to add point data to MapShore. Make sure that the Files of type: is set to the "Map91 Point Data File (.CSV)" before choosing the " .csv" point data file.

Retrieve point data in MapShore

Click the "Open" button to open the point data file. In the "Select Symbol" dialog box, select an appropriate symbol for your map. The colour of the symbol can be changed afterwards via Options > Colours > Set Symbol Colours... As there is already a SET file, the Point Data Filter dialog box will appear. This is useful if the user want to show a subset of data based on certain conditions e.g. number and category of etc. The aspect of displaying attributes will be discussed in the next section. For now we will focus on mapping the location of the data so ignore the filtering options and click OK to continue. The spots where crime was reported should now appear. You can use the zooming commands in order to examine the results more closely.

Display point data in MapShore

The results can now be exported as an image file in the Windows MetaFile (.WMF) format. Alternatively, the print command will allow printing or saving the output (with a choice of low or high resolution) to a BMP or JPG file. In all cases, you should save the work to a MapShore Library (.LIB) file for use in the future. If you intend to carry on with the example below, close both MapShore and SASPAC now.

Adding Point-based attribute data in MapShore

Sometimes it may be necessary to map attribute data to point locations. For example, the data used above may contain an additional data field to indicate whether the fire and rescue service has attended each crime incident. In this case, the data will have any additional numeric field to register the number of times the fire and rescue service is called.

Launch MapShore either independently or through SASPAC using the File > RUN MAPSHORE command sequence.

In the MapShore window, select Data > Edit Point Data Setup File... to define the characteristics of the additional attribute data in the new point data file which is to be imported. Navigate to the location where all the other data files are and open the associated SET file (" .set") .

Edit point setup file in MapShore

The Point File Setup dialog box will appear. Up to ten fields can be stored in the setup file. The Field Name column contains the field labels for each record for the data file provided in this example. Five data fields are currently included in the point setup file: "ID", "NOFFS" (number of offences), "FIRESATT" (fires attended), "OSEAST" (eastings) and "OSNORTH" (northings). Click the Display checkboxes for the "FIRESATT" field so that this can be displayed on the map. Note that the East and North radio buttons are used to indicate the data for eastings and northings respectively. Their length should be set to "6" in most cases. Also important to note is that the eastings and northings fields should be placed at the last two columns in the input data file.

Accept the remaining default values. Click Save to update the point data setup file.

Update the point file setup in Mapshore

Select Boundary > Retrieve... to insert the boundary file ("police_beats.shp") as we have previously done. Make sure that the Files of type: is set to the "Shape File Format (.SHP)" and proceed as before. The boundary data should now appear. Now select Data > Retrieve Point Data... and open " .csv". Choose an appropriate symbol to represent crime spots where no fire and rescue service has been called ("FIRESATT" = 0). In the Point Data Filter dialog box, choose "Equal" from the dropdown menu and enter "0" in the box for the "FIRESATT" field.

Filter point data using the FIRESATT=0 in MapShore

Click Ok and the crime spots without fire and rescue service attendances should now be mapped.

Map showing crime locations which are not attended by the Fire and Rescue Service in Mapshore

Retrieve the same point data file (" .csv") again. Use a different point symbol and alter the filter option so that the value for the "FIRESATT" field is now greater than 0. The remaining crime spots which have been attended by the fire and rescue service should be added to the existing map as below.

Map of all crime spots using more than one symbol in MapShore

The results can now be exported using the Export or Print commands. Save the work to a MapShore Library (.LIB) file for use in the future.

Copyright Attribution

The Small Area Statistics Package (SASPAC) software is owned by the Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government (IDeA). MapShore is a registered trademark of Pebbleshore Ltd. The software screen shots shown in this page are reprinted with permission from IDeA and Pebbleshore Ltd. The maps shown above are based on data provided through EDINA UKBORDERS with the support of the ESRC and JISC and uses boundary material which is copyright of the Crown.