Adding information to a shapefile from excel

Discussion created by kevyn.dietz on May 27, 2013
For a project for a cemetery I have to coordinate a series of burials to UTM (NAD83 Zone 17N). I have a shapefile exported directly from the survey controller used to collect the coordinates (Trimble TSC3 with an R8 rover linked to Can-Net if it matters), and an excel file from the client containing the burial information. I have a common field of unique values for each file, and I need to join them in a way that permanently adds the data to the shapefile. Also an issue is that each point can be associated with one up to five different burials, so I also need the ability to duplicate the coordinates across multiple entries in the excel file.

The Join and Relate function and other software joins aren't an option for me at the moment, because of how we're converting the data to HTML for the prototype. We're doing the actual map building in ArcGIS, but transferring it through Quantum GIS and MapServer to convert it into HTML for the client. It's a proof-of-concept for what will ultimately be a searchable map of the entire cemetery for the client to put on their public-facing website.

I have a few ideas of how to do this, bringing it in through Access or exporting the survey data as a .csv file and adding it to the excel file before converting that to a shapefile for instance, but I'm only an intern so I don't know the most time-effective way of doing this. Can any of the more experienced users here give me some advice on how to accomplish what I need to do.