Vector GIS Data
Shapefiles are a non-topological vector storage mechanism for spatial data that were created by a company called Environmental Systems Research Institute or ESRI. The geometry of a feature is stored as a set of x,y coordinates, and the attribute (or descriptive) data is stored in a related database file. The file is really made up of a collection of files:
.SHP - Stores the x,y coordinates
.SHX -An index between the .SHP and .DBF files.
.DBF - Stores the attribute data in a flat file format.
Each of these files must be preserved to make use of the shapefile.
This data can be viewed and manipulated using free desktop GIS software such as ArcExplorer (for basic thematic viewing of the data) or by purchasing more advanced software such as ArcView GIS (for viewing and analysis). The Matanuska-Susitna Borough does provide the free ArcExplorer product with CD products that contain the Borough’s GIS data sets. The Borough does not provide technical support or training on the use of the product though. Please contact ESRI directly for more information about ArcExplorer or any of the other software packages available for GIS query and analysis.
Each shapefile has an associated "metadata" record that describes the methodology used to collect the data, how often it is updated, known limitations, etc. Most of the shapefiles will have metadata documents available in a "short form" - A .PDF document which is accessible from this page. The short form is an entry in a GIS Data Dictionary put together by the GIS staff that contains the vital information for a specific dataset. Metadata takes a great deal of time and effort to compile, so the short form will initially be completed for each data set. In time, FGDC documentation may be created for all of the GIS data available from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
The data's coordinate system is NAD 83 Alaska State Plane Zone 4 Feet.
Shapefiles are grouped by theme: