GIS file formats
Metadata often includes:
- Elevation data, either in raster or vector (e.g., contour lines) form
- Shape layers, usually expressed as line drawings, for streets, postal zone boundaries, etc.
- Coordinate system descriptions.
- One or more data describing the precise shape of the Earth assumed by the coordinates.
Popular GIS file formats
- ADRG - National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)'s ARC Digitized Raster Graphics
- BIL - Band Interleaved by Line (image format linked with satellite derived imagery)
- CADRG - National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)'s Compressed ARC Digitised Raster Graphics (nominal compression of 55:1 over ADRG)
- CIB - National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)'s Controlled Image Base (type of Raster Product Format)
- Digital raster graphic (DRG) - digital scan of a paper USGS topographic map
- ECW - Enhanced Compressed Wavelet (from ERMapper). A compressed wavelet format, often lossy.
- ESRI grid - binary and ASCII raster formats used by ESRI
- TIFF - TIFF variant enriched with GIS relevant metadata
- IMG - ERDAS IMAGINE image file format
- MrSID - Multi-Resolution Seamless Image Database (by Lizardtech). A compressed wavelet format, often lossy.
- JPEG2000 - Open-source raster format. A compressed format, allows both lossy and lossless compression.
- Geography Markup Language (GML) - XML based open standard (by OpenGIS) for GIS data exchange
- AutoCAD DXF - Contour elevation plots in AutoCAD DXF format
- Shapefile - ESRI's open, hybrid vector data format using SHP, SHX and DBF files
- Simple Features - Open Geospatial Consortium specification for vector data
- MapInfo TAB format - MapInfo's vector data format using TAB, DAT, ID and MAP files
- National Transfer Format (NTF) - National Transfer Format (mostly used by the UK Ordnance Survey)
- TIGER - Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing
- Cartesian coordinate system (XYZ) - Simple point cloud
- Vector Product Format - National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)'s format of vectored data for large geographic databases.
- GeoMedia - Intergraph's Microsoft Access based format for spatial vector storage.
- ISFC - Intergraph's MicroStation based CAD solution attaching vector elements to a relational Microsoft Access database
- Personal Geodatabase - ESRI's closed, integrated vector data storage strategy using Microsoft's Access MDB format
- File Geodatabase - ESRI's geodatabase format, stored as folders in a file system.
- Coverage - ESRI's closed, hybrid vector data storage strategy. Legacy ArcGIS Workstation / ArcInfo format with reduced support in ArcGIS Desktop lineup
- Spatial Data File - Autodesk's high-performance geodatabase format, native to MapGuide
Grid formats (for elevation)
- USGS DEM - The USGS Digital Elevation Model
- DTED - National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)'s Digital Terrain Elevation Data
- GTOPO30 - Large complete Earth elevation model at 30 arc seconds
- SDTS - The USGS successor to DEM
- Binary Terrain - The Virtual Terrain Project's Binary Terrain format
- Dual Independent Map Encoding (DIME) – A historic GIS file format, developed in the 1960s
- Well-known text (WKT) – ASCII spatial projection description (ESRI uses a *.prj extension)
- Well-known binary (WKB) - Binary spatial projection description
- World file - Georeferencing a raster image file (e.g. JPEG, BMP)
- Computer file
- Datum (geodesy)
- GDAL/OGR, a library for reading and writing many formats
- Geography portal