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Spatial Data Format in ArcGIS


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ESRI with their product , ArcGIS, has been an standard industry in geospatial data so their data format are widely use by most of GIS Analyst

With their latest product , ArcGIS, ESRI have some different format to suit in many aspect, for example 3D, Raster, Vector or spatial database.

1. VECTOR DATA FORMAT :

a. SDC: Smart Data Compression

SDC is ESRI's highly compressed format, which is directly readable by ArcGIS software, but not by ArcView 3.x. Many ESRI Data and Maps datasets are natively in SDC format.

b. LYR: Layer File

A .lyr file is directly readable only by ArcGIS software and other newer software applications. This file does not contain actual geographic data, but rather contains specifications for the presentation of other datasets. Such specifications include color shading, naming, label properties (font, color, placements, etc.). Such presentation properties are usually time consuming to create, so a .lyr file allows these settings to be saved and shared. In order to use a .lyr file, you must also have a seperate data file with the same prefix name saved in the same filespace.

c. SHP: Shapefile

The ESRI Shapefile has become an industry standard geospatial data format, and is compatible to some extent with practically all recently released GIS software.

To have a complete shapefile, you must have at least 3 files with the same prefix name and with the following extensions: .shp = shapefile, .shx = header and .dbf = associated database file. Additionally, you may have a .prj = Projection file, a .lyr = layer file, and other index files. All these files must be saved in the same workspace.

d. ArcInfo Coverage

An ArcInfo coverage does not have an individual file extension. Instead it is composed of two folders within a "workspace" which each contain multiple files. One of the two folders carries the name of the coverage, and contains a number of various .adf files. The other folder is an "info" folder, which typically contains .dat and .nit files for all the coverages and grids in the workspace. The best way to manage (copy, move, delete, rename) ArcInfo coverages is with ArcCatalog or ArcInfo Workstation (command line).

e. E00: Arc Export or Interchange Format

.e00 (pronounced e-o-o or e-zero-zero) files are ArcInfo Interchange or export files, used to conveniently copy and move ArcInfo GIS coverages (see above) and grids (see below). An .e00 file must be "imported" in order to use the data in ArcView or other GIS software.

If you are using ArcGIS 9.x or above, use the "Import from Interchange File" tool to import the e00 to an ArcInfo coverage. This tool is in ArcToolbox->Coverage Tools->Conversion->To Coverage.

If you have ArcView 3.x installed, use the Import71 utility found on the Start Menu along with ArcView to import the .e00 file. If you are running ArcView from Novel Application Launcher (NAL), you will need to locate the ArcView path (probably on the L: drive) by right-clicking on the NAL ArcView icon and looking at 'Properties'. Look for import71.exe under the ArcView /bin32 directory and click on it to run the program.

f. MDB: Geodatabase

The geodatabase is a collection of geographic datasets of various types, with the most basic types being vector, raster, and tabular data. There are three types of geodatabases: file, personal, and ArcSDE. Geodatabases are the native data format for ESRI's ArcGIS. If you want to analyzes geospatial data with full support , please use this format, instead using old ones (shp or arcinfo)

g. TIN: Triangular Irregular Network

A TIN is a vector-based model which represents geographic surfaces as contiguous non-overlapping triangles. The vertices of each triangle are known data points (x,y) with values in the third dimension (z) taken from surveys, topographic maps, or digital elevations models (DEMs). The surface of each triangle has a slope, aspect, surface area, and continuous, interpolated elevation values. The selective inclusion of points within a TIN gives the triangles their irregular pattern and reduces the amount of data storage required relative to the regularly distributed points in a DEM.

2. RASTER DATA FORMAT

a. ArcInfo Grid

An ArcInfo Grid does not have an individual file extension. Instead it is composed of two folders within a "workspace" which each contain multiple files. One of the two folders carries the name of the grid, and contains a number of various .adf files. The other folder is an "info" folder, which typically contains .dat and .nit files for all the coverages and grids in the workspace. The best way to manage (copy, move, delete, rename) ArcInfo Grids is with ArcCatalog or ArcInfo Workstation (command line).

Thats all for ESRI Data Format. besides those format, ESRI support widely external spatial data format. but its out of scope of my article

source : [hide]

http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/gis/formats.html

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almost forgot, if you want to know most complete GIS Data Format, please check here :

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http://www.grime.net/gistools/a-z.htm

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enjoy and let start the discussion  :tongue:

regards, LORDI  

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 months later...

Some good info on shapefiles (by esri themselves)

Shapefiles White Paper

the three files :

- *.shp (the features geometry)

- *.dbf (dBase files for storing attribute of each feature)

- *.shx (index files for features)

since the attribute's file is actually a dBase (dbf) file, we can edit the attribute outside ArcGIS or ArcView, for example by using Microsoft Access. This is useful when we want to update the attributes value using SQL statement and function (well, ArcGIS's or ArcView's data update tools does not support some SQL functions)

btw, MapInfo's native format (table files) also stores attribute in dBase (but instead of having dbf extension, it has .dat extension). thus, it still editable outside Mapinfo Professional

and since personal geodatabase (*.mdb) is actually a microsoft access file, the attributes can be edited using Microsoft Access. Same goes for ArcSDE (enterprise geodatabase) that uses enterprise or workgroup RDBMS as database backend - MSSQL, Oracle etc, attributes can be edited using any DBMS client (but to preserve integrity of the dataset, editing outside arcgis is not recommended especially for versioned dataset)

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