With git commit 916a42397c
there is now (part of the Arch workbench) an importer for Shapefiles, which are commonly used by GIS applications.
The importer uses the shapefile.py library from https://github.com/GeospatialPython/pyshp
, it is not found on your system on first run, the importer will propose to download and install it for you.
Shapefiles are composed of 3 files (a .shp, a .shx and a .dbf file), any of them can be used with this importer. They are composed of 2D objects of one geometry type, that can be polygons/faces, polylines or point cloud (all 3 types are supported by this importer), and custom fields, for which each face, polyline or point in the shapefile has a value. This is the real gem of GIS, to bind a database with geometry. The most common use is to have one field to represent the elevation coordinate of each shape in the file. On opening the file, the importer will ask you what field to get shape elevations from.
Note that there is all the question of georeferenced units, with hundreds of projection systems used worldwide, which are not treated at the moment. The coordinates from the file are used "as is".