Map files

Echoview supports map (chart) files in the MapInfo Data Interchange Format (.mif) format and shape files in the ESRI shapefile (.shp) format.

SHP Data used by Echoview

ESRI shapefiles must be created in ArcView or ArcGIS, with coordinates in decimal degrees of latitude and longitude. See Adding map and Waypoint files to cruise track windows for information on using these files in Echoview.

Echoview supports the following shapefile types:

  • Point
  • Polyline
  • Polygon
  • Multipoint
  • PointZ
  • PolyLineZ
  • PolygonZ
  • MultiPointZ

Note: Echoview will load shapefiles with Z axis data, but Z will be set to '0' in the cruise track window.

Echoview displays shapefiles in the following way:

  • Point data are light green.
  • Polylines are red.
  • Polygons are dark green.

Echoview can display these map projections:

  • CRS:84 (WGS-84 lat/lon)
  • EPSG:3857 (Spherical Mercator - Google maps format)

Note: The OpenStreetMap world coastline shape file may useful in that it may have a higher resolution than the Demis WMS map image in some regions. The drawback is that this shape file is quite large.

MIF Data used by Echoview

MapInfo (.mif) files can be created directly in Mapinfo (Echoview supports Mapinfo version 3.00 and later files) and other software products. They can also be created from other map formats using Echoview Software's Echocoastline utility. See Adding map and Waypoint files to cruise track windows for information on using these files in Echoview.

Echoview only recognizes a subset of the information that can be defined in MIF files.

Header section

Echoview uses the COORDSYS header clause to identify the datum (latitude and longitude coordinate system) used to create the MIF file.

Note: Echoview supports MIF files using the WGS84 datum or equivalent datum based on GRS80. If the datum information is not found in the MIF file Echoview will assume the file uses the WGS84 datum.

All other MIF file header clauses are ignored by Echoview. Please note the following restrictions:

  • CHARSET - Echoview treats all characters as ANSI.
  • DELIMITER - Using a delimiter other than the default (tab) may lead to unexpected results.
  • TRANSFORM - Echoview does not support transforms other than the default.

Data section

In the MIF data section the PLINE (polyline), REGION, LINE, RECT, ELLIPSE and TEXT objects are supported. POINT, ROUNDRECT and ARC object definitions are ignored.

  • For PLINE objects, the optional MULTIPLE keyword is supported. The SMOOTH clause is ignored.
  • For TEXT objects, the FONT, SPACING, JUSTIFY, ANGLE and LABEL LINE clauses are ignored. Also multi-line text objects are drawn on a single line.

The following is an example file which demonstrates the minimum format supported by Echoview:



0.0 0.0

0.0 1.0

1.0 1.0

1.0 0.0

0.0 0.0


0.0 0.0

-1.0 0.0

-1.0 -1.0

0.0 0.0



4.0 3.0

3.0 7.0


-4.0 -3.0

-4.0 -4.5

-5.5 -4.5


6.0 0.0

8.0 0.0

8.0 4.0

TEXT "Label point at 2 degrees E on equator"

2.0 0.0 5.5 1.0


5.0 5.0 6.0 6.0


-6.5 -0.5 -5.0 3.0

The DATA keyword is required. Object definitions follow this keyword. Any number of objects are supported. They can be present in any order.

The keyword REGION is followed by the number of regions (2 in the above example). Each individual region starts with the number of points in that region.

Points are defined as coordinate pairs - a longitude followed by a latitude value. The values are in decimal degrees. Negative latitudes are the southern hemisphere. Negative longitudes are west of Greenwich.

For PLINE with a single polyline, the number of points follows the PLINE keyword. Alternatively, multiple polylines may be defined by including the MULTIPLE keyword, followed by the number of POLYLINES.

For TEXT objects, the four coordinates are two long/lat pairs, which describe a rectangle in which the text should be drawn. The text will be scaled to fit within this rectangle.

For LINE objects, four coordinates define two points. A line will be drawn between these points.

For RECT objects, four coordinates define two points. The first point is the bottom left-hand corner and the second is the top right-hand corner of a rectangle. ELLIPSE objects are defined in the same way, with an ellipse drawn inside the bounding rectangle specified by the bottom left and top right points.

PLINE, REGION, ELLIPSE, RECT and LINE object definitions can be followed by a PEN clause. This defines a logical pen, which is used to draw the boundary of the object. The form of this clause is:

PEN (width, pattern, color).


  • width is a relative width from 0 to 7. This defaults to 1.
  • pattern is a line pattern number from 1 to 77. Echoview does not support all the MIF patterns, but tries to draw an approximation. Some patterns of interest are 1 (invisible), 2 (solid), 3 (dots), 6 (dashes). pattern defaults to 2.
  • color is a RGB (red, green, blue) color specification encoded as a single integer. Each of the primary colors is encoded as an intensity from 0 to 255. The final value is computed from ((R * 256) + G) * 256 + B. For example, black (0, 0, 0) is 0, white (255, 255, 255) is 16777215, and blue (0, 0, 255) is 255.

REGION, ELLIPSE and RECT object definitions can be followed by a BRUSH clause. This should appear after the PEN clause if it is present. The BRUSH clause defines how the object is filled. The form of the clause is:

BRUSH (pattern, forecolor) or BRUSH (pattern, forecolor, backcolor)

pattern is a brush pattern number from 1 to 71. Echoview does not support all the MIF patterns, but tries to draw an approximation. Some patterns of interest are 1 (invisible), 2 (solid), 3 (horizontal lines), 4 (vertical lines), 5 (diagonal lines NE-SW), 6 (diagonal lines NW-SE), 7 (horizontal and vertical lines) and 8 (diagonal cross-hatching). pattern defaults to 1.

forecolor is the color in which the pattern is drawn. This color is a number defined in the same way as PEN colors.

backcolor is the background color which is drawn behind the pattern for non-solid brush patterns (those with pattern numbers greater than two). backcolor defaults to transparent.

Where the REGION and PLINE keywords are used to define multiple regions or polylines, the PEN and BRUSH clauses follows all the point definitions and applies to all of the regions or polylines defined, e.g.:


0.0 0.0

0.0 1.0

1.0 1.0

1.0 0.0

0.0 0.0


0.0 0.0

-1.0 0.0

-1.0 -1.0

0.0 0.0

PEN (2,6,255)

BRUSH (4,65280,0)


Echoview is not a navigational tool. Any map files supplied with Echoview show indicative positions of coastlines only, and do not show or indicate navigational hazards.

See also

Adding map and waypoint files to cruise track windows
About Echocoastline