Essential Data Interoperability extension vocabulary



Data format

A data format defines how digital information is encoded and stored in a file or other data source.

  • Native ArcGIS formats are files such as shapefiles or coverages and any element in a geodatabase such as a feature class or table.
  • Nonnative or external formats are files not directly supported by ArcGIS. Examples include MapInfo .mid/mid or .tab files, Danish .ufo, and International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) S-57 .000 or .003 files.

Data source

A data source is an instance of a dataset stored in a specific format.

Data transformation

A data transformation is the process of reorganizing or restructuring data from the source format into destination data.

Data translator

A data translator converts data from one format to another format. For example, a data translator can convert MapInfo TAB data to an ESRI shapefile.

Direct read

Direct read is the ability to recognize a nonnative format on the fly within ArcGIS without having to use a conversion tool.

Extract, transform, and load

Extract, transform, and load (ETL) refers to the three separate functions that are combined into a single tool and executed as a series, in the following order:

  • The extract function reads the data from the specified source or sources.
  • The transform function converts the data using the rules you have specified and creates new data.
  • The load function writes the resulting data to the specified data file and format.

Spatial ETL

Spatial ETL is a category of tools used for manipulating spatial data that incorporate the data processing methodologies of traditional extract, transform, and load software.


A transformer is an FME Workbench object that performs a particular restructuring of features or schema. It is a visual object that you add to your workspace canvas and connect between the source and destination features, or to other transformers.

Essential Data Interoperability extension vocabulary

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Published 6/7/2010