Information on Data Formats

KML:  KML is an acronym for Keyhole Markup Language.  It is the primary data format used by Google Earth and several other virtual globe programs.  The Open Geospatial Consortium announced KML as an open standard in April 2008.

KMZ:  KMZ is a compressed file designed to reduce the file size of a large KML file or to create a single file made up of multiple KML files or multiple referenced documents.  KMZ files can also be read by Google Earth and other virtual globe and GIS programs.

SHP:  An ESRI shapefile (SHP) is a data format native to GIS software produced by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI).  ESRI openly published the technical specifications for a shapefile, which has led to its use as a "de facto GIS standard."  Shapefiles are made up of a minimum of three separate files, are available on this site in a compressed .zip format, and must be uncompressed before they can be used.  Shapefiles can be used in a variety of GIS software packages.

XLS:  This is a data format that can be opened by Microsoft Excel and several other spreadsheet and database programs.

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