Importing GIS Shapefiles

Import GIS Shapefile

GIS Shapefiles that adhere to the ESRI standard can be imported into AFT Fathom for ease of model creation. These files have the extension .shp, but there are two other supporting file types that need to be in the same folder as the .shp in order for the import to work correctly. These are .shx and .dbf file types. The option is located under File > Import Piping Layout From > GIS Shapefile (.shp). This opens the "Import Piping Layout Wizard" in the Quick Access Panel that allows the importing of one line .shp that is of pipes and multiple point .shp files for branches, valves, pumps, and reservoirs. Once the .shp files have been added to this window the object type, scaling, and mapping can be selected.

Object Type

Any .shp files that are of lines are automatically set to the object type of "Pipes". Only one .shp file containing lines can be imported at a time. Any .shp file that is of points can be set to Branches, Valves, Pumps, or Reservoirs.


Scaling only applies when no length is mapped to the AFT "length" field or when no length data exists in the shapefile. Scaling does not alter the Workpace layout or visual length of the pipe. It only adjusts the pipe length property that is calculated by the coordinates being imported from the shapefile.

The default scaling is 1 grid point to 1 foot. This can be adjusted by selecting the "..." button in the Scaling column. This button opens a new window in which a new scale is applied to the automatic calculation of the pipe length property. This window does not change the visual length of the pipe drawn on the workspace. This window also allows the viewing of the coordinates of specific points and parts of different shapes within the shapefile.


The Data Mapping window allows the user to select what data fields have relevant data for AFT Fathom to import.

  • Pipes can map:

    • Labels - Names

    • Length - Mapping this field will utilize included user shapefile data and override the automatic calculation of pipe length. The scaling window settings will have no effect when this field is mapped.

    • Friction - Absolute Roughness, Relative Roughness, Hazen-Willams Factor, Explicit Friction Factor, Weymouth, and Panhandle friction models are available.

    • Inner Diameter

  • Branches can map:

    • Labels - Names

    • Elevation

  • Pumps can map:

    • Labels - Names

    • Elevation

    • Assigned Flow - Imports as a Fixed Flowrate pump

  • Reservoirs can map:

    • Labels - Names

    • Elevation - To the base of the reservoir

    • Liquid Elevation - Height from base to liquid surface elevation. Liquid elevation and elevation are summed and input as liquid surface elevation in the generated reservoir junctions.

  • Valves can map:

    • Labels - Names

    • Elevation

Related Blogs

Meet the Import Piping Layout Wizard