General glossary for mineral resources spatial data

Categories of online data and services including data file formats and general types of web services.
web services
Data made available to scientific application software by using the same protocols by which documents are transferred on the world-wide web.
feature services
Web services in which geospatial data are provided as features (points, arcs or lines, or polygons) including the attributes of each feature.
Open Geospatial Consortium Web Feature Service
image services
Web services in which geospatial data are provided to the user in the form of a map image. The image is typically accompanied by a description of the image that includes its geographic extent and the types of graphical items that appear on it. Attribute data describing individual features is not included with the map image but may be provided through specialized requests.
Open Geospatial Consortium Web Map Service
Tile services
Web service providing previously-rendered georeferenced map tiles
Web map tile service specification published by the Open Geospatial Consortium
Open-source project for a network data access protocol (use for OPENDAP > OPEN-SOURCE PROJECT FOR A NETWORK DATA ACCESS PROTOCOL)
data download
Receive digital information from a remote computer in a form suitable for use within application software that runs locally\n(that is, on the user's computer). The user must remember the name of the file and directory in which the downloaded data have been stored.
data file format
The pattern by which digital information is stored in a file. Data files are readily used when their format conforms to a standard that is well known and can be interpreted properly by application software.
Geospatial data format developed by ESRI, Inc. Typically this term refers to three coupled digital files, provided together, in which the geographic information is encoded in two, one whose extension is .shp, the other having extension .shx, and the attribute information is encoded in a third having extension .dbf. (use for ArcGIS point shapefile, ArcGIS shapefile, ArcView shapefile, ArcView shapefiles, ESRI line Shapefile, ESRI point shapefile, ESRI polygon shapefile, esri polyline shapefile, ESRI shapefile, line shapefile, pint shapefile, point shapefile, polygon Shapefile, polyline shapefile, shapefile polygon)
Data file in a format used by numerous early PC-based database management systems. Used as a component of shapefiles to hold the attributes of geographic features. (use for dBase file, .dbf file)
ArcInfo coverage
Geographic data files used by the GIS software "ArcInfo Workstation". The coverage format consists of numerous files in several different directories having a well-defined structure referred to by ESRI as a "workspace". (use for coverage)
ArcInfo interchange
Geospatial data archive composed by combining the files from a given coverage into a single package using the ArcInfo Workstation software. Files must be extracted from the package and placed in the original coverage file structure in order to process the geospatial data they contain. (use for ARCE, ArcInfo export, e00)
Geography markup language, an XML specification developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium to transact information through geospatial web services.
Raster data format
Georeferenced, regularly-spaced data expressed as an array of values in rows and columns (use for ASCII raster, image data, imagery, images, raster imagery)
Tagged Image File Format, a specification for storing raster data (use for Tagged Image File Format)
TIFF image with geographic reference information (use for GeoTIFF image)
Geosoft grid format
A binary format for storing raster data typically used for geophysical data. Two files describe each grid (suffixes .grd and The .gi file contains information about the coordinate reference system.
Grid exchange format
GXF (Grid eXchange File) is a standard ASCII file format for\nexchanging gridded data among different software systems. \nSoftware that supports the GXF standard will be able to import\nproperly formatted GXF files and export grids in GXF format. (use for GXF)
ER Mapper grid format
The ER Mapper grid format consists of two files: a binary data\nfile (no file suffix) and an ascii header file (*_ers). These\nfiles can be read directly by the ER Mapper software or by other\npackages such as ERDAS IMAGINE. Note that the header files refer to the projection as "RAW", indicating that the projection \ninformation and format must be defined by the user. (use for ERS)
ODDF binary grid format
This is a binary format with an included ascii header. This\nformat is used by the USGS Geophysics Group within the Minerals\nProgram of the Geologic Division. The ascii header gives all\ninformation necessary to convert this file to another format.
USGS PC binary grid format
This is a binary format compatible with the USGS PC Potential Field software. The free software package may be downloaded from:\n
ERDAS Imagine grid format
Microsoft Windows bitmap format
USGS ASCII grid format
ASCII form of USGS PC binary grid, as described in
MrSID image format
Multiresolution seamuless image database. Imagery packed using lossless wavelet compression (use for Mr. SID)
(use for JPEG format, JPEG image, JPEG images, JPG)
ESRI grid format
Any of a variety of application-specific formats used in ESRI software to store raster data. (use for ArcGIS raster, ArcRaster binary grid, ESRI Binary GRID, ESRI grid)
ESRI Spatial Analyst binary grid format
This is a binary format that can be imported into ESRI's Arc View through the Spatial Analyst software. Basic grid parameters are contained in the ASCII *.hdr file.
ESRI ArcView binary raster grid
(.flt file from OFR 2004-1293)
ArcInfo GRID format
Raster data format used by ArcInfo from ESRI. Consists of proprietary files in a grid-specific directory and additional INFO files in a common INFO directory. (use for ARC/INFO ASCII GRID, ArcInfo GRID)
ARC/INFO grid export format
Raster data package stored using the coverage structure of ArcInfo
ArcRaster grid
(use for ArcRastar grid)
Canon Raw version 2
Camera raw image format generated by some Canon digital cameras, containing uncompressed image data. (use for CR2)
ENVI image format
A flat-binary raster file with an accompanying ASCII header file. The data are stored as a binary stream of bytes arranged by Band Sequential (BSQ), Band Interleaved by Line (BIL), or Band Interleaved by Pixel (BIP).
Microsoft Excel format
(use for XLS, XLSX)
Geospatial data exchange format used by Google Earth. A form of XML. Includes KMZ, a KML that has been compressed with zip. (use for Google Earth data format, KMZ)
HTML table
Hypertext markup language tables, if written simply and without additional annotation, serve as a data format and can be imported in a number of current applications.
Vector data format used by AutoCAD
Specialized file format designed for seismic reflection data (use for SEGY, SEG-Y data, SEG-Y format)
(use for Filemaker, FileMaker Pro)
Geodatabase (Esri)
Data package containing relational database tables and geometrical information in a format designed for software from Esri.
personal geodatabase (Esri)
Geodatabase packaged in a Microsoft Access format (.mdb)
file geodatabase (Esri)
Geodatabase packaged in a proprietary format
Microsoft Access format
(use for mdb)
ArcInfo ungenerate
Simple text format produced by the ArcInfo UNGENERATE command, generally used only for the simplest geometrical figures
Subcommittee of the SEG Engineering and Groundwater Geophysics Committee, Pullan, S. E., Chairman, 1990, Recommended standard for seismic (/radar) data files in the personal computer environment: Geophysics, vol. 55, no. 9, p. 1260-1271.
Digital Line Graph, an older vector data format for GIS
ArcMap style
Application-specific data file by which ArcGIS assigns colors, patterns, or other symbolization to map features based on specified attribute values
Geosoft database (binary)
Binary format files typically something.gdb containing flight-line airborne geophysical measurements, flight parameters, and calculated quantities
OpenDocument spreadsheet
OpenDocument format XML used for spreadsheet data (use for ODS)
Terse RDF Triple Language
RDF graphs completely written in a compact and natural text form, with abbreviations for common usage patterns and datatypes. (use for Turtle)
Formats in which the data are represented as plain text, not including formally defined standards such as XML, JSON, or Turtle. (use for plain text)
columnar text
Data file format in which rows appear on separate lines and columns are delimited by some common character such as comma or the tab character, ASCII 9. Typically such a file can be understood by common spreadsheet programs. Where the column delimiter appears within a cell value, the cell value is enclosed in quotes. If a quote appears within a cell value, it is typically preceded by the backslash character. (use for ASCII formatted file, ASCII text, delimited text)
tab-delimited text
Data file format in which rows appear on separate lines and columns are delimited by the tab character, ASCII 9. Typically such a file can be understood by common spreadsheet programs. (use for Text (tab-delimited))
Tab-delimited text used by the National Water Information System, includes initial comment lines, a header line containing field labels, and a second header line containing field width and type information.
comma-delimited text
Data file format in which rows appear on separate lines and columns are delimited by the comma. (use for comma-separated values, CSV, CSV format)
A format for seismic reflection data developed by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
Javascript Object Notation, a specification for encoding data in a format easily parsed by a Javascript interpreter. Specified in ECMA-404, described at (use for JavaScript Object Notation)
A JSON format for encoding a variety of geospatial data structures. Specified in RFC 7946,
An OGC encoding standard describing conventions for storing a variety of geospatial data types and associated attribute and metadata information in a SQLite container. (use for OGC GeoPackage)
Binary file format created by the Python package NumPy for persisting a single arbitrary NumPy array on disk. A zip package containing more than one of these files will typically have extension npz. (use for npz, numpy array)
GOCAD voxel
3D data format encoded as text, documented at and (use for GRID3D, Voxet)
LASer file
Format defined by ASPRS to contain point cloud data (x,y,z) originating in surveys using lidar or other fine-scale elevation measurements. When compressed, the extension is typically LAZ. (use for LAS, LAZ)
Hierarchical data format
Open data package format designed to accommodate large, mixed scientific datasets. (use for HDF, HDF4, HDF5)
MTH5 format
Specification by which magnetotelluric geophysical data may be encoded using HDF5 file formats.
SQLite database
Relational database format encoded as a cross-platform file, operated on using the SQLite code libraries called from common programming languages or through the sqlite3 command-line utility.
SPECPR format
SPECtrum Processing Routines format (Clark, 1993, Kokaly and others, 2017) which packages electromagnetic reflectance and emission spectra and associated metadata descriptions into a single file.
MT/EMAP Data Interchange Standard
File formats supporting the interchange of magnetotelluric (MT) and electromagnetic array (EMAP) data. Wight, D.E., 1988, MT/EMAP Data Interchange Standard, Technical standards committee report, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, isbn=9780931830617
Geonics TEM format
Text format for transient electromagnetic sounding data.
Universal Sounding Format
Text format for encoding data from transient electromagnetic sounding operations.
Geologic Map Schema, a standard for the publication of geologic maps, a database design and specification for packaging digital files containing geologic map data. (use for Geologic Map Schema)
ASEG-GDF2 format
Textual data exchange and archive standard for geophysical point and line data.
shopping cart
Common metaphor used on the world-wide web for a list of items or packages that the user wishes to download. The list is typically stored on the web server; a cookie is often used to remember which shopping cart list belongs to each user. (use for shopping list)
metadata file format
File formats used to store geospatial metadata
linked data
A method of publishing structured data so that they can be connected and related explicitly to other data.
Resource Description Framework
Resource Description Framework, a method of specifying facts using triples (use for RDF)
terse RDF triple language
A simple textual format for expressing data that comply with the Resource Description Framework (RDF) data model (use for Turtle (syntax))
Observations, usually represented by digital information.
spatial data
Digital information representing scientific observations referenced to one or more locations in space. Commonly the references are to geographic locations on or near the earth's surface. (use for geographic data, geospatial data)
vector spatial data
Geographic features described using points, lines, or polygons composed of one or many vertices, each vertex defined by a pair of coordinates.
raster data
Information characterizing a geographic area by specifying measures or observations at regularly-spaced grid points, normally stored in rows and columns of an array.
Information describing the origin, characteristics, quality, sources, and processing history of data. (use for data documentation)
Instructions and procedures used by a computer to carry out tasks requested by people. (use for computer programs)
scientific application software
Computer software used to process scientific data for analysis. Typically includes specialized software such as GIS and image analysis as well as more general business-oriented software such as spreadsheets and database management systems.
geographic information systems
Computer software that facilitates the processing, analysis, and display of spatial data. (use for GIS)
spreadsheet software
Computer program designed to facilitate the processing and analysis of simple tabular data. Typical spreadsheet software places few or no constraints on the types and quality of data that appear in the tables.
database management system software
Computer software designed to process complex combinations of linked tabular information. Normally the software strictly regulates the type of data that may appear within table cells. (use for DBMS, RDBMS)
document formats
Textual, graphic, or combined representation of scientific observations intended for use by the human eye rather than directly input to scientific software
Portable Document Format
Text and graphics combined for presentation within specialized visual display software. Format specification by Adobe Corporation, a modified form of the PostScript page description language. (use for PDF)
Microsoft help files
Binary format viewable only using Microsoft Windows
HTML (general)
Hypertext markup language, generally used as a document format, is often too variable in format to be used for exchanging scientific data.
General page description language of which PDF and EPS are derivatives
Microsoft Word format
Document format generated by the word-processing software Microsoft Word
Adobe Illustrator format
Normally files whose names end with .ai
WordPerfect format
Hewlett-Packard Graphics Language, used by plotters
Image format for scanned documents