What format(s) would/should be provided/included with a gis dataset repository?

I know that there is no correct answer, i'd like as many different answers/opinions as possible to make the best informed opinion.

Open data github group has been discussing this:

I'm not sure if it is kosher to cross pollinate github with stack like this, in my opinion it should be, but apologies if this is overbearing.

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    In my opinion, Shapefiles are still the standard format. – Karsten W. Dec 18 '13 at 10:38
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    The large European INSPIRE programme pushes geo-data providers to publish 'views' of data as Web Map Service (WMS) and downloads as Web Feature Service (WFS), rather than Shapefiles. I'd be interested in what benefits this has for users, from those that know about this. – D Read Dec 18 '13 at 12:02
  • and a second? or third? – albert Dec 18 '13 at 16:44
  • What type of GIS data? road networks (lines) or telephone poles (points) are much different from raster data (eg, satellite images). – Joe Dec 18 '13 at 23:20
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    possibly relevant : digitalpreservation.gov/formats/content/gis.shtml – Joe Dec 18 '13 at 23:21

I would say that geojson is in the top of my personal list. JSON is really easy to use it with a programming language, especially with Python that I am familiar with. Also, it is easy for conversions. If someone has another system and he has to use the data in another format, he could convert it to that format from JSON pretty easy.

Also, shapefiles are very popular and I feel it would be my second choice.


I'd vote for geojson or geocsv in first instance followed by shapefiles and perhaps topojson if that optimization of geojson was important.

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