Mapping in python? Transforming shapefile so that basemap can read them?

C Barr Leigh cpblpublic at
Fri Sep 11 20:22:56 CEST 2009

I'm trying to get started with plotting maps in python. I need to read
"shape files" (.shp) and make maps. There seem to be many efforts but
none is complete? I'm looking for suggestions and troubleshooting.

The basemap package is obviously at an impressive stage and comes with
some data:

but it cannot read shapefiles when their coordinates are not in
geographic projection. min are in a lambert, so the readshapefile

Apparently there is a utility that can convert a .shp file to lat/lon
coordinates, but it fails for me. “You can convert the shapefile to
geographic - coordinates using the shpproj utility from the shapelib
tools - ("
 For me, this gives:
“unable to process projection, exiting...”

Has anyone overcome these problems?


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