Esri ArcGIS is one of the most well-known commercial GIS applications.
ArcGIS saves the digital map layers as Shapefiles. A Shapefile consists of several files that belong together. These files have different extensions but share the same file name.
The main file has the extension .shp. In addition to the .shp, at least two files must be present, these files have the extensions .shx and .dbf.
In addition to these 3 files, up to 12 additional files can optionally be used (.prj, .shp.xml, .xml …).
The widely used Open Source GIS application QGIS also saves map layers as Esri Shapefiles by default.
EShapefiles are used extensively and have good software support. If desired, Shapefiles can be included and offered as a dissemination (usage) format in a data set.
However, these formats are less suitable for long-term durability. Shapefiles mainly consist of binary data, of which it cannot be guaranteed that the data can be opened error-free in the future by applications other than those with which they were created.
For the long term and to promote interoperability, it is therefore recommended to store GIS data in an open, well-supported and robust text file.
For better export and import options for ArcGIS, the “Data Interoperability extension” is available. Bulk conversions can also be easily performed with this extension.
Esri SHP is a non-preferred format for file type GIS.