Formats and Data Sources

This chapter provides notes on various file formats and data sources to which Manifold can connect.   A partial listing of formats documented within individual topics follows:


000, S57

Used for nautical charts, especially for ENC electronic chart displays used in shipping.


ADF files can contain raster data, ESRI TIN data or vector (drawing) data.

BIL, ESRI Band Interleaved by Line

BIL is an ESRI format used for raster data.

BNA, Atlas BNA

Atlas BNA format, a legacy vector format used with Atlas GIS packages.


BWx is a legacy US Census Bureau TIGER file format.

CTG, LULC Grid Cell

LULC (Land Use Land Cover) data from USGS in CTG (Composite Theme Grid) raster format, also known as Grid Cell files.


US government SDTS (Spatial Data Transfer Standard) format using file names that end in a three-letter DDF extension.   DDF files can store raster or vector data.


DDR files as used with Log ASCII Standard (LAS) format used for well logging data. This is a legacy format different from the LAS format used for LiDAR data.   LAS is a format originally developed by the Canadian Well Logging society in the late 1980's.     DDR files are most often encountered with older raster data from archival sites providing satellite images recorded by earth observation satellites in the 1990's.  

DGN, Intergraph

A legacy vector format used with Intergraph and Bentley Microstation GIS products.

DNG, Adobe

DNG is an Adobe raster image format similar to TIF.  It provides no projection information and is primarily used for photography and non-spatial graphics arts.


ESRI .e00 is a complex legacy format used with ESRI's ArcINFO GIS product. It is capable of storing different types of data, including images and surfaces ("grids"), but is most often used for drawings.


ERMapper, ERDAS format.  A high performance, more modern technology for raster compression using wavelet algorithms.  Manifold can link or import ECW and can export to ECW as well.

GDB, ESRI File Geodatabase

File geodatabases are ESRI's recommended geodatabase format.  Manifold's GDB dataport includes numerous features to facilitate read/write use of ESRI file geodatabases.

GIRAS, LULC Vector Format

LULC (Land Use Land Cover) data from USGS in GIRAS (Geographical Information Retrieval and Analysis System) vector format.

J2K, JPEG 2000

A compression format using wavelet compression similar to ECW and MrSID.  

MIF, MID  MapInfo

MapInfo mid/mif, an interchange format for vector drawings.

SHP, Shapefiles

Notes on ESRI shapefiles, including exporting drawings to shapefiles.


A format for raster compression using wavelet technology that was popular with government agencies in the early 2000's. Manifold directly reads MrSID format as a built-in format.

TAB, MapInfo

MapInfo TAB "table" format consists of multiple files, usually five files, referenced by a controlling .tab file. TAB format can result in drawings, labels, and raster images.


Adobe Tagged Image File Format (TIFF or TIF) that is so universally used few people know it is a Adobe format.  The GeoTIFF form of TIF includes tags providing projection information.  Manifold reads GeoTIFF info and always writes TIF files with internal tags that make them GeoTIFFs.