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During the ESO session at the 2015 Summer ESIP meetings, we discussed Geospatial Vector Formats. The general feeling after the discussion was that there is no specific "best" format. We agreed to host a discussion page where people can follow up on some of the material presented.


FormatStandards bodyESO StandardReference link(s)Notes
Arc-Info .E00








ESRI File Geodatabase



Could be interesting to ESDSWG ASCII WG


Good transfer format, maybe not good archival format

GeoPackageOGC 12-128r11

Archival format?

GeoRSSOGC 06-050r3 (white paper)

Specialized for Atom/RSS results

GMLOGC 07-036

Have to develop profile or use one that's already been developed.


HDFyes (HDF-5, HDF EOS 5) used for gridded data.


KMLOGC 07-147r2yes

OK for visualization, pretty limited set of clients

netCDFOGC 10-090r3 / ESOyes (classic and 4)
Mostly used for gridded data


Shapefile a proprietary format, now it's published. Used in Esri software.


TopoJSON topology to GeoJSON, makes smaller files for data that has large multi-point geometries

Interesting transfer format for bigger data sets

OGC 06-103r4

Useful as component of others

OSM (OpenStreetMap) useful for certain kinds of vector data.

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