Glossary: shapefile

A shapefile, also known as an Esri shapefile, is a file format for storing geographic vector data. Shapefiles are good for storing medium-sized data, but are best used by desktop applications like Mapbox Studio Classic since they’re hard for web browsers to read. When you upload shapefiles, Mapbox converts your data to vector tiles so you can create styles from it.

You can import shapefiles into Mapbox Studio or Mapbox Studio Classic. You can also upload zipped shapefiles files directly on When uploading shapefiles, keep the following in mind:

  • Check out the Uploads API documentation for the current size limit for Shapefiles. Note that this limit applies to the shapefile’s uncompressed size, not the size of the compressed zip.
  • Shapefiles are composed of several individual files, which should be combined into a single zip file before uploading. Of these files, Mapbox can read shp, shx, dbf, prj, and index files. Any other files you upload with your zip file will be ignored.

Download a sample shapefile

Additional questions? Ask our support team or learn more about How Mapbox Works.