Use the Import Shapefile tool to import a layer created by someone else. ESRI shapefiles (aka. SHP files) can be created from just about any GIS or mapping software. Some cities and counties have GIS departments that maintain a variety of layers for their jurisdictions. Engineering companies and other consultants may also be able to provide you with shapefiles detailing any design, inspection, or data collection work that they have done for you.
This tool can be accessed by selecting Menu - Import a layer - Import SHP file.
Create a new layer
A new layer is created in your map and all the Shapefile records are copied to it. This is the most common action.
Replace an existing layer
Use this action if you are re-importing. For example, if you do all your editing in another GIS software then you will periodically want to update this mapping system with your changes. When you do so you will want to re-run this import Shapefile tool and select the "replace" action. See the important "Keep attachments and notes" paragraph further below.
Append to an existing layer
Use this action when you are combining multiple shapefiles into the same layer on your map. To do this, import the first shapefile using the "create new layer" action. Then import each of the other shapefiles using this "append" action.
New Layer Name
If you are creating a new layer then enter here the name you want to give this new layer. If you are importing multiple shapefiles at once then this name will be ignored and each layer will be created with a name matching that of its respective source file.
If you are replacing or appending to an existing layer then indicate here which existing layer that is.
Files To Import
Click the Browse button to select a shapefile on your computer to upload to our cloud server. A single shapefile layer consists of a set of several files that all have the same name but with different extensions. We need 4 of them including the SHP, DBF, SHX, and PRJ files. Alternately you can select a single zip file if it contains at least these 4 files. If there is no PRJ file then the system will have to assume that your data is stored in unprojected latitude/longitude coordinates. However, the more typical case is that someone forgot to send you the PRJ file. You can select more than one set of shapefiles at a time and the system will import them all at once into seperate layers.
Keep attachments and notes (applies to "replace" action only)
Consider this scenrio. A water valves layer is created and maintained by someone else in another GIS program. Every few months you are give an updated shapefile containing all the new valves and other changes. When you receive this updated set of files you re-import it into your map using the "replace" action described above. But since receiving your last update you have attached pictures and added field notes to some of your valve features. So if you "replace" your layer with this new shapefile it will wipe out all your attachments and notes. If you haven't added anything to this layer then this is a non-issue for you. But if you have then hopefully you see the potential problem here.
One solution to this problem is to stop receiving updates from the other guy and start making all the changes in this mapping system. But that is not always desirable. So the other option is to use this "Keep attachments and notes" checkbox. To use this option you must check this box and then provide the name of a key field found in both your existing layer and in the shapefile that you are about to re-import that uniquely identifies each feature. Any documents and notes in the existing layer will be transfered to their respective features on the new layer based on matching key field values.
See the Import help topic for more import options
See Geodatabase Tools for instructions on importing data from an ESRI Geodatabase.