SMS Map Skills: New Users Getting Started with Boundary Imports


If you are a new SMS user, the prospect of starting with your first project opens many options.

  1. If you are a grower you might start by downloading data from a yield or planter monitor. (Read Files>Select Monitor Brand>Select File>Start) These imports are largely automatic.
  2. If you have data housed in another FMIS (Farm Management Information System) or collected by a service provider a logical start is to import boundary files from those sources.
  3. SMS is set up to allow you to build your Management Tree of Grower Name>Farm Name>Field Names and the attached maps as you import them. No pre-setup steps are required except gathering the files to be imported.
  4. The most common type of file used by all mapping programs is called a “Shapefile”. A Shapefile is actually a set of files: Filename.SHP, Filename.DBF, Filename.SHX and Filename.PRJ
  5. If a provider sends you a Filename.ZIP use the “Extract All” command to unpackage the zipfile containing the set of files first before importing into SMS.
  6. SMS can also import a KML or KMZ (Google format).
  7. Copy, save or extract all files to a folder (“Maps Incoming”) on your computer and know how to navigate to this file area before you proceed.


  1. Open SMS. Find the READ FILES Iconundefined

2. Select Import a File from a Generic Source (Shapefiles, KML files)>Start Importing to launch an import “Wizard that will guide you through the import steps

SMS Import Generic File Format Wizard
SMS Import Generic File Format

3. Select the file TYPE you wish to import the Select File to Import command at bottom>

SMS File Import Wizard Select File Type: SHP
SMS File Import Wizard Select File Type: SHP

4. Navigate to the location of your stored shapefile set. SMS will only show the “Filename.SHP” portion of the set. Highlight the filename to select it and choose OPEN.

Select Shapefile from File Location
Select Shapefile from File Location

5. SMS will show you a preview of the file. NEXT> to proceed

SMS File Import Wizard Preview
SMS File Import Wizard Preview

6. Select the Import Type. Shapefiles can contain any type of data so SMS needs to be told what type of map your incoming Shapefile is going to be. Boundaries have special purposes, so this is important to select BOUNDARY as the the import data type and check ON the “Set ans Frozen Field Boundary”. This will ensure that SMS sticks this boundary to the field name, as well as creating a copy of this boundary under your intended storage year. NEXT> to proceed.

SMS File Import Wizard Boundary Type
SMS File Import Wizard Boundary Type

7. Boundaries are the only Shapefile imports where we can skip this window. In most cases we do not need SMS to “Read” any of the attribute or data information attached to this file. NEXT>

SMS File Import Wizard Attributes
SMS File Import Wizard Attributes

8. In most cases simply accept the No Clipping option (default) because you do want the whole file imported. NEXT>

SMS File Import Wizard No Clipping
SMS File Import Wizard No Clipping

9. Assign this file to the intended Grower>Farm and Field. Either Add New if you do not have this grower already in the system or Select an existing Grower Name. Note here that ALL information in SMS is stored at the FIELD level, so Farm Name can be same as grower name, or can represent the business name or can be something like Home Farm, with the intention of having multiple fields under that farm. However, it is worth noting that if multiple field “Pieces” are typically cropped together, they are “a field”.  NEXT>

SMS File Import Wizard Assign Grower, Farm, Field
SMS File Import Wizard Assign Grower, Farm, Field

The next window is just a preview of what is incoming. FINISH.

10. Your newly added boundary can now be located on the Management Tree panel. Highlight either the Field name or click on the + sign beside levels (branches) in the tree. You will notice that the boundary is now stored under a category called Boundary under the selected year.

11. The selection results in that map showing in the preview window below. To move it into the main map space select Create New Map found above the preview.

12. Repeat for subsequent imports. If you are a new user, do this manual import for as many files as you have for practice. Once you have imported a few you will notice that many of the steps in succession just require “next” to move through the import wizard. Apart from picking the file and then assigning it to the correct Grower, Farm and Field, very little interaction is required.

Special Notes: While SMS Advanced users have the option for Batch Imports, unless the source files have the Grower name, Farm name and Field name you intend to use in the file under appropriate columns (and in my experience most do not) you cannot tell SMS to auto read these and have them go to the intended location, so manual entry is likely the fastest entry method.

Karon Tracey Cowan, AgTech GIS


March 2020

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