Converting data between MapInfo and ArcGIS – Karl Hennermann

Our main GIS software is ArcGIS, but we work with other organizations who use MapInfo, and we occasionally receive data from them in MapInfo format, or they ask us to supply data in MapInfo format, for example at the Census Dissemination Unit. We usually use the MapInfo Universal Translator tool to convert from MapInfo formats to Shapefiles, and vice versa. However, the Universal Translator comes only as part of the MapInfo Professional software, and it is somewhat overkill to pay for MapInfo Professional if we only use one function. So let’s see if there are other (maybe free) tools to convert MapInfo files to Shapefiles and vice versa. On the ArcGIS side we will be happy to use Shapefiles – we can easily convert them to/from Geodatabases if required. I suspect there is a software that can handle all of these… of course it is QGIS! But there are also various other methods, see below. In case you can not or do not want to use QGIS, for example if you work in a restricted environment and cannot install software, there are alternatives: OGR2GUI is a easy to use, free tool to convert between Shapefile and MapInfo TAB format (and between various other formats). The download comes as a ZIP file. Extract it and and run the ogr2gui.exe program. Everything else is self explanatory. ArcGIS includes a little known converter for MapInfo MIF files. It is a command line tool called avmifshp.exe, and it is installed in your ArcGIS binaries directory, e.g. C:Program Files (x86)ArcGISDesktop10.2Bin Note that you must not specify the extensions for the input and output files (.MIF and .SHP, respectively) ! You have a MapInfo MIF dataset C:TempBoundary_MI.MIF (optionally accompanied by C:TempBoundary_MI.MID). This dataset contains polygon features. To convert this to a Shapefile: This process does not create metadata for the output file, so you have to manually specify the coordinate system: Find out what the coordinate system of the MapInfo file was, then open ArcCatalog, navigate to the output file C:TempBoundary_Arc, right-click it >, Properties >, XY Coordinate System, and select the same coordinate system that the input MapInfo file had. ogr2ogr is a very powerful open source library to convert data between many GIS vector file formats. For rasters there is an equivalent called GDAL. These are libraries for software developers, so they are not not useful if you simply want to convert a file. However, ogr2ogr and GDAL are included in most open source GIS software products – for example both QGIS and OGR2GUI internally use them for file format conversion. There is no stand-alone compiled version of ogr2ogr and GDAL, but you can for example install FWTools, a collection of open source GIS tools that includes ogr2ogr and GDAL. After installation you will have a file C:Program Files (x86)FWTools2.4.7binogr2ogr.exe. Simply run it from the command line to convert your GIS data. For usage notes see here. Karl – along similar lines, here’s a link to a neat utility for converting rasters (e.g. TIF) that have georegistration info held in MapInfo format: http://nickmcw.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/mapinfo-rasters-to-geotiff/ thanks for the article, i have used the three methods to convert mapinfo Tab file (only polygons) to shapefile,but they cannot convert the hole tab file. Is there any solution for this There is a variety of potential reasons why your file would not convert. Please post error messages here, and someone might be able to help. Hi, thanks for the comment. I assume you mean to convert the MapInfo tab files (not MIF) to Shapefiles (not Geodatabases). If you have all your MapInfo data in few folders, try the ogr2gui tool, it seems to be able to convert all files in a specified folder, although I have not tested that function. If you have many folders and want to have more control over the conversion process you need to do a bit of scripting. I would use the OGR2OGR tool from FWTools. You can run it from a command line like this: ogr2ogr -f 'ESRI Shapefile' -overwrite 'Output Shapefile Path and Name.shp' 'Input MapInfo Path and Name.tab' For example: ogr2ogr -f 'ESRI Shapefile' -overwrite 'C:GISDataShapeBoundariesAdmin1.shp' 'C:GISDataMapInfoBoundariesAdmin1.tab' Build this into a batch script and run the script. Here is an example converting Shapefiles to GML to get you started. Have not tried any of the two methods – I think it is quicker to recreate the symbology in the target software. Helped me in a bind for converting some data I just received. THANK YOU for having it out on the internet Karl!!!! Source.


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Last Modified: April 22, 2016 @ 3:01 pm