Shapefiles downloaded from some of the OpenStreetMap data sources will be compressed in .zip file format. To use the contents of the .zip file, you must extract the file to a new folder.
To extract from a .zip file on a Windows computer, in File Explorer navigate to the folder where the .zip file is located, right-click the file and from the pop-up menu select Extract All... You will need to choose the directory on your computer to which the resulting folder will be saved to.
To extract a .zip file on a Macintosh computer, simply double-clicking the zipped file should automatically decompress the zipped file using the Archive Utility and create a new file or folder in the same directory where the zipped file folder is located.
University of Oregon computers should be able to unzip folders using the methods described above. However, if you are using a personal computer or other non-UO computer, you might not be able to unzip folders using the methods described above. In that case you will need to download and install 7-Zip or an equivalent free software onto your computer that will allow you to perform unzipping folders.
ArcMap, part of ESRI's ArcGIS software suite, is one program that can open and view shapefiles like the OpenStreetMap data. Shapefiles are a commonly used file type in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The University of Oregon has ArcMap and the ArcGIS software suite on many campus computers. The University of Oregon Social Science Instructional Labs (SSIL) specifically has GIS support if you need it (see links below). The University of Oregon Geography and Planning, Public Policy, and Management (PPPM) departments also offer courses on how to use GIS capabilities.
After opening the ArcMap program, to add the shapefile(s) use the main menu and select File -> Add Data... -> Add Data. You can also use the Add Data button on the standard toolbar. See the Basic User Interface Elements webpage linked below for help navigating the main menu and standard toolbar.
In the Add Data window that appears, navigate to the folder containing shapefile. To do this you can click the Connect to Folder button and then find find the file path that contains your shapefile. Once you have connected to the folder, select the shapefile by clicking on it, and click the Add button.
In the Add Data window that appears, navigate to the folder containing the shapefile. To do this click the Connect to Folder button. In the window that appears go to the folder that contains the shapefile, click on the folder name to select it, and click OK. Once you have connected to the correct folder, in the Add Data window select the shapefile by clicking on it, then click the Add button.
For more information about the shapefile, which should now be displayed in the main data frame, you can right-click the shapefile layer name in the table of contents. When you right-click the layer name, a pop-up menu should appear. Select Properties, and then within the Properties window that appears click on the Source tab.
The web sites listed below from ESRI and University of Oregon SSIL can help you navigate important elements of the ArcMap interface.