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View the SDTS Document

Standards are not light reading! Other materials are available if you are only seeking general knowledge about SDTS.

Overview of the SDTS Document

The SDTS base specification (Parts 1, 2 and 3) describes the underlying conceptual model and the detailed specifications for the content, structure, and format for exchange of spatial data. Additional parts (4, 5, 6 and potentially others) are added as profiles, each of which defines specific rules and formats for applying SDTS for the exchange of particular types of data.

PART 1--Logical Specifications
Part 1 consists of three main sections, which explain the SDTS conceptual model and SDTS spatial object types, components of a data quality report, and the layout of all SDTS modules.

PART 2--Spatial Features
Part 2 contains a catalogue of spatial features and associated attributes. This part addresses a need for definition of common spatial feature terms to ensure greater compatibility in data transfers. The current version of Part 2 is limited to small- and medium-scale spatial features commomly used on topographic quadrangle maps and hydrographic charts.

PART 3--ISO 8211 Encoding
This part explains the use of a general purpose file exchange standard, ISO 8211, to create SDTS filesets (i.e. transfers).

PART 4--Topological Vector Profile
The Topological Vector Profile (TVP) is the first of a potential series of SDTS profiles, each of which defines how the SDTS base specification (Parts 1, 2, and 3) must be implemented for a particular type of data. The TVP limits options and identifies specific requirements for SDTS transfers of data sets consisting of topologically structured area and linear spatial features.

PART 5--Raster Profile and Extensions
The Raster Profile is for 2-dimensional image and gridded raster data. It permits alternate image file formats using the ISO Basic Image Interchange Format (BIIF) or Georeferenced Tagged information File Format (GeoTIFF).

PART 6--Point Profile
The Point Profile contains specifications for use with geographic point data only, with the option to carry high precision coordinates such as those required for geodetic network control points. This profile is a modification of Part 4, the Topological Vector Profile, and follows many of the conventions of that profile.

Part 7--Computer Aided Design and Drafting Profile
The Computer Aided Design and Drafting Profile (CADD) contains specifications for an SDTS profile for use with vector-based geographic data as represented in CADD software. The purpose of this profile is to f acilitate the translation of this data between CADD packages without loss of data, and support the translation of this data betw een CADD and mainstream GIS packages. CADD software makes up a large portion of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) marketp lace. CADD software allows for several types of elements, in particular, the use of three-dimensional elements and complex curv es that are not commonly used by GIS. This profile allows the representation of two- and three-dimensional geographic vector da ta from CADD packages to be transferred via the SDTS standard. This profile supports two-dimensional vector data and three-dimen sional vector data, where the third dimension is the "height" of the object. These data may or may not have topology. This pro file does not support raster data or two-dimensional transfers already represented by another profile.

View the newly approved ANSI Version (DRAFT for Review)

The first ratified version of SDTS, known as FIPSPUB 173-1, 1994 has been superseded by current version, known as ANSI NCITS 320-1998 and was ratified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) June 9, 1998. The current version includes extensive changes to the raster capabilities. Parts 2 and 4 have not been changed from the original FIPS173-1 version except for document style. In the DRAFT versions presented online, changes in Parts 1 and 3 are indicated by italic text in the HTML offer ing, and by change bars in the PDF version. PDF versions are appropriate for viewing, downloading, or printing with Adobe Acrobat(tm) Reader.

This is the draft proposed as an American National Standard. As such, this is not the completed standard. The Technical Committe e may have modifed this document as a result of comments received during public review and its approval as a standard. Permission is granted to members of NCITS, its technical committees, and their associated task groups to reproduce this document for the purposes of NCITS standardization activities without further permission, provided this notice is included. All other rights are reserved. Any commercial or for-profit reproduction is strictly prohibited. There may be minor differences between the online version here and the official draft version available for printing (PDF).

Please visit ANSI for information about obtaining copies of ANSI NCITS 320-1998.

Technical Editor: Robert Rinehart, USGS
1400 Independence Rd, MS 508
Rolla, MO 65401


Parts 1-3--Approved by ANSI as ANSI NCITS 320-1998, June 9, 1998
HTML Format
Summary of changes
PART 1: Logical Specifications
PART 2: Spatial Features
PART 3: ISO 8211 Encoding

PDF Version
Part 1: Logical Specification (Download the free Adobe Reader)
Part 2: Spatial Feature(Download the free Adobe Reader)
Part 3: ISO 8211 Encoding(Download the free Adobe Reader)


Part 4: Topological Vector Profile--Approved by ANSI as ANSI NCITS 320-1998, June 9, 1998
Part 4: TVP--HTML
Part 4: TVP--PDF (Download the free Adobe Reader)

Part 5: SDTS Raster Profile and Extensions (RPE)--Approved by FGDC as FGDC-STD-002.5-1999, February, 1999
Part 5: RPE--PDF (Download the free Adobe Reader)
Part 5: RPE--Microsoft Word Document (Download the free Microsoft Word Viewer)

Part 6: Point Profile--Approved by FGDC as FGDC-STD-002.6-1998, April 1998
Part 6: PP--PDF (Download the free Adobe Reader)

Part 7: Computer Aided Drafting and Design Profile--Approved by FGDC as FGDC-STD-002.7-2000, March 2000
Part 7: CADD--PDF (Download the free Adobe Reader)

FIPSPUB 173-1 Version

Please Note: This version is presented for historical purposes, and has been superseded by ANSI NCITS 320-1998.
HTML Format
PART 1: Logical Specifications
PART 2: Spatial Features
PART 3: ISO 8211 Encoding
PART 4: Topological Vector Profile

There may be minor differences between the version presented here and the bound version which NIST sells as FIPS PUB 173-1.

You may contact NIST to purchase a copy of FIPSPUB 173-1 of the SDTS

Visit our SDTS Information FTP Site

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