New standard file formats for GPlates

Together with Michael Chin and John Cannon and parts of the GPlates community I have developed a new rotation file standard (*.grot files) and Shapefile standardisation to improve the GPlates interoperability. These documents are included as Supplementary Information to a paper entitled "The GPlates Geological Information Model and Markup Language" by Xiaodong Qin (Micheal Chin), et al. has been submitted to Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and data Systems - GI. The paper describes the GPML and the two new standards for rotation files and shapefile attributes. Here are the links to the documentation:

GROT Rotation file format standard

The document describes the new GROT rotation file format (for GPlates Rotation file, pronounced g-rot) and allows for a much richer set of metadata attributes to be incorporated in the file standard. The proposed standard is based on ideas sourced from the OGR GMT format, Python, MultiMarkdown and is self-consistent, plain text based and human-readable. Further, it will allow GPlates to source advanced information such as DOI's, individual bibliographic information and Dublin Core Document Metadata from the files.

The new *.grot file format uses a specific @Attribute"Value" and comment syntax which allows for:

File format description

This PDF document describing the new rotation file format

Example files

TextMate syntax highlighting bundle

Shapefile attribute format for plate tectonic applications

This document proposes the use of a common set of attributes to be included with shapefiles for plate tectonic applications. The agreement on a community standard of attributes attached to shapefiles containing plate tectonic data should facilitate the exchange of files and allow for a basic tracking of modifications without the need of a complex centralised versioning system.

Proposal document

A PDF of the format description document is available here

Shapefiles and Geodatabases for download

The downloads below are empty shapefiles containing standardised attribute columns as outlined in the document. Both, the geodatabase and the shapefiles can be either used as a) template if the user would like to digitise new features or b) through a merge between an existing shapefile containing feature data and the template in order to add the standardised attributes to the existing attribute columns. Please refer to the format description on how this is done in ArcGIS and QGIS.

The data for download is relased under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license.

Dataset Description Zip archive of ArcGIS 9.3 Geodatabase containing empty feature classes with standard attributes and two tables with FeatureTypes (GPGIM) as well as the simple core attributes. Zipped, emtpy Shapefile (incl. prj, shx, dbf) for LINE geometries with standard attributes. Zipped, emtpy Shapefile (incl. prj, shx, dbf) for POLYGON geometries with standard attributes. Zipped, emtpy Shapefile (incl. prj, shx, dbf) for POINT geometries with standard attributes. Zipped, emtpy Shapefile (incl. prj, shx, dbf) for MPOINT geometries with standard attributes.

Version history of the documents