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Some data will be readily available in the correct format. Some will not. There is no way here to describe how importing data to the GIS can be done. Each database will probably require a different kind of treatment. Typically, 75 to 90% of the time devoted to a project will be devoted to this task. Data verification is also part of this process.



There are several possibilities:

  • Emile Peter's step-by-step
    Emile Peter has written a complete, illustrated, step-by-step guide about how to do exactly this (using Arc GIS 9 and Biomapper).

  • ArcView 3.x extension
    There is an extension doing the job on the ESRI site, made by Holger Schäuble. Look for Grid Converter ( on It works for ArcView 3.x.

  • Biomapper's GridConvertor
    If you have Arcview 3.0 or 3.1 and Spatial Analyst, you can use the Biomapper module GridConvertor. It allows to convert several files in one operation. However, GridConvertor is not maintained anymore.

  • Biomapper's MapManager
    If ASCII grid is an option (with huge grids, it is very disk-space demanding), then you can use the MapManager, which comes along with Biomapper:
    1. Select the maps you want to convert
    2. Go to the "Conversion" tab
    3. Select "Arc GIS ASCII" format
    4. Click on the "Export" button
    All the selected maps will be converted in one operation. This works with both ArcView and ArcGIS.

  • DIVA
    I used DIVA, which I think I downloaded off the internet, to convert from idrisi to an ESRI grid. I imported the idrisi file into DIVA as idrisi and then exported it as an ASCII grid and then imported the ASCII into ArcView to create my grid. (Nichole Rubeck-Schurtz)

  • Manual conversion
    If you have another version of ArcView, GridConvertor may not work (always problems due to ESRI proprietary policy).You will therefore have to convert your grids manually. In the Biomapper help file you will find a description of the Idrisi/Biomapper file format that should help you to transfer your data. You can try this: in Arcview, go into the file menu and select Export Data Source and export your image as a binary raster (has an flt extension). Exit Arcview and then change the file extension from .flt to .rst. You should then be able to create a document file (*.rdc) for this image with the information supplied in the help file. The flt and rst format are identical. You will probably have to choose "real" data type.

Text file

The Biomapper package provides a tool to convert table data into Biomapper maps: the module Convertor.


  • Links to relevant URL.


  • List of bibliographical references.