A shapefile is a data format used to store geographic information. It usually consist of at least three different types of files: a .shp (containing the geometry information), a .shx (a compiled .shp that allows programs to interpret the information more quickly) and a .dbf (a database file which stores attributes for each shape).
QGIS is an open source application used to visualize and edit geographic information. It also provides features to analyze different kinds of information using maps as reference.
In this post I’ll explain how you can open your shapefiles using QGIS.