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Distributing Shape Files with a program......

Posted on 2004-10-14
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Hi all,
          I have developed a Vehicle Tracking Software and now its time for deployment of that project......I am using about 30 different layers of Maps (mostly Shape files) and some of them are Geo referenced BMP's....... Currently I am developing using MapObjects 2.1 and VB6......
Can someone tell me how to secure my Shape files so that no one can copy them (or use them after copying) in their project ? Currently I am keeping them into a specific folder.....But anyone who knows about GIS will make  a search for *.shp and will copy all the files into a CD or thumb disk and can easily use these into his project.....so what is the safe method of distributing Shape Files with the project of VB?

Imran
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Question by:imarshad
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by:imarshad
ID: 12307099
I want Distributing these Shape Files so that only my project can open the Shape Files but no one else can open these files even within ARC VIEW or Mapobjects.......

Imran
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by:vilia
ID: 12308528
You can’t make a bulletproof system, but you can add some difficulties for example:

- Scramble Shape files and compress them (by VB).
- Store same info into registry (absolute file locations, installation timestamp, etc.)
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by:kissgisit
kissgisit earned 250 total points
ID: 12311801
Can you just put them in a folder you only have rights to.  ESRI has a shapefile specs sheet.  I have never heard of a shapefile being unavailible to ArcView.
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by:imarshad
ID: 12316594
>> I have never heard of a shapefile being unavailible to ArcView.
I was thinking of changing/corrupting the header of the Shape Files so that whenever someone tries to open the Shape File from any other program it will generate error....but the problem is that mapobjects might also not be able to open the Shapefile for my project......

>>- Scramble Shape files and compress them (by VB).
Can you illustrate a little bit more......I apprehend I will face the same difficulties as above........

Imran
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Accepted Solution

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kissgisit earned 250 total points
ID: 12317776
Sure.  I am understanding that you want your shapefile only availible to your project.  Is there a reason why you wouldn't want any other program to see it.  I was suggesting that you create a folder and set its permissions to just you.  Then I was thinking that this wouldn't work if other people need to use your application. The shapefile technical specs are at the following site.

http://downloads.esri.com/support/whitepapers/other_/shapefile.pdf

You can set the permissions of the folder to be editable only my certain people but ArcView could still edit it with those people.  Sorry but that is all I can offer like I said I have never heard of someone trying to do a project like this.

Here is another articale that might help

http://forums.esri.com/Thread.asp?c=9&f=85&t=25913#328413

Hope this helps!
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by:vilia
ID: 12321689
You can do something like:
1. zip SHP file
2. XOR each byte of the zipped file (newByte = oldByte XOR 0xFA)
3. rename shp extension to something different (.frm or .xyz)


In the application (each time):
1. load .xyz file
2. XOR each byte back (oldByte = newByte XOR 0xFA)
3. unzip
All steps without creating an external/temp file


Note: As I have mentioned earlier there is not protection against a dedicated person.
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by:imarshad
ID: 12407770
kissgisit,
>>Is there a reason why you wouldn't want any other program to see it.
Yes of course there is....We have produced these maps with  great effort and investment. So we will not like others to just enter that system and simply copy the maps and get all of our 3-4 year work within a minute.....

              I put the same question on the ESRI forum and I got the following response......

Re: Distributing Shape Files with project.....  
Author A.J. Romanelli  
Date Oct 18, 2004  
Message This topic has been covered multiple times in this forum, search for "encrpyt shapefiles". The short answer is that this is not possible. You will need to extract the data to shapefiles and place them on disk for MO to access them, at which point any other application could make use of them as well (or they could be copied off to another location).  


Subject Re: Distributing Shape Files with project.....  
Author ESRI Developer Support  
Date Oct 18, 2004  
Message No easy solution, but here are some ideas:

http://support.esri.com/index.cfm?fa=knowledgebase.techarticles.articleShow&d=15449  


So almost all the signs are discouraging but I will leave the question open for a few days so that if someone has done something on it might pop up and help me in this regard......

Imran
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by:vilia
vilia earned 250 total points
ID: 12434130
Hi Imran,

Going back to the first posting:
>> Currently I am developing using MapObjects 2.1 and VB6......

and the answer from A.J. Romanelli:
>>  The short answer is that this is not possible. You will need to
>>  extract the data to shapefiles and place them on disk for MO to access them

and a possible solution I was thinking about:
>> Comment from vilia - Date: 10/15/2004 10:15AM PDT

If there is possibility to have VB in "full control" and use MO objects under VB control, it could be possible to use encryption (that, in a very simplified form, I have described).

The idea is to decrypt the Shape file during app execution, and feed MO objects with decrypted data.

>> So we will not like others to just enter that system and simply copy the maps and get all of our 3-4 year work within a minute.....

You should investigate this (and any other potential solution) seriously.


Vilia
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by:imarshad
ID: 12817131
Still waiting......

Imran
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by:imarshad
ID: 12817237
What I have done so far is that I have placed the Maps in a folder and I am the only one who knows that path....(It is a very long path)..... Then I have simply made that folder hidden using dos Commands.... Then lastly I have used  "Hide Folders XP" software to make it completely invisible...... Now it is protected from novice level hackers but anyone who knows even some small level of hacking will still be able to figure it out... But it has given me at least some security which I can show to my boss......

Imran Arshad
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Expert Comment

by:vilia
ID: 12819571
Hi Imran,

Have you got a chanse to investigate the posibility I wrote (10/28/2004 07:26AM PDT), pariculary:
If there is possibility to have VB in "full control" and use MO objects under VB control, it could be possible to use encryption (that, in a very simplified form, I have described).

In other words is it possible to call MO objects from VB in your application?

Vilia
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by:imarshad
ID: 13347614
Still waiting......
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by:imarshad
ID: 13347710
Vilia,
       Thinking in your suggestions I have made slight advancement...... I have changed the projection in the map i.e the Shape files will now not show the actual Lat/Long when viewed with some other program..... But when my application loads them then it will change the projection on the fly and display those maps with correct Lat/Long...... But the biggest problem i.e with the Geo-referenced BMP's still remains.... These are the ones that we are most afraid of being stolen..... Since they have an external world file so still no way to make it useless for other people.....

Imran
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by:imarshad
ID: 13572361
OK I am finalizing this question......

Imran
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