Data Formats

Datasets are made available in one or more formats depending on the type and context of the data. These formats include:

File Type Description

Comma Separated Value (CSV) are values separated by commas. This is a basic text format that can be opened by many applications including Excel and other spreadsheet applications.

Learn more about CSV in Wikipedia.


DWG is one of the most commonly used Computer-Aided Design (CAD) file formats.  This is a digital representation of a design or existing object.  It can be consumed by a wide variety of Autodesk and non-Autodesk software packages.

The DWG provided contains the ObectID under the Properties of each feature.  This ObjectID can then be found in the CSV file in order to obtain more attribute data than is provided by the layer name.

Learn more about DWG in Wikipedia or Autodesk Products.


ESRI shapefile (SHP) is a geospatial vector data format.  This is a simple, nontopological format for storing the geometric location and attribute information of geographic features.  Geographic features in a shapefile can be represented by points, lines, or polygons (areas).  It can be consumed by a wide variety of ESRI and non-ESRI software packages.

The shapefiles in the Open Data Catalogue were created with an ArcGIS 10.2 license.

Learn more about SHP in Wikipedia or ESRI ArcGIS Resources.


Keyhole Markup Language (KML) is a mark-up language developed by Keyhole Inc. and subsequently acquired by Google to display data in Google Maps, Google Earth and similar applications. KML is an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standard.

KMZ files are compressed KML files with a .kmz extension.

Learn more about KML and KMZ in Wikipedia or ESRI ArcGIS Resources or OGC.


File geodatabase (GDB) is a single-user database with extensions for storing, querying and manipulating spatial data.  The type of geodatabase has been optimized for use with ESRI's ArcGIS.

The file geodatabases in the Open Data Catalogue were created with an ArcGIS 10.2 license.

Learn more about GDB in ESRI ArcGIS Resources.


ECW (Enhanced Compression Wavelet) is an image format optimized for geospatial data such as aerial and satellite imagery.  The format was developed by Earth Resource Mapping and is now owned by Intergraph.  Please note that this is a lossy compression, although visually the images will appear very similar to the original file format.  If image analysis is required please contact the City of Chilliwack for the .TIFF files. [email protected]

Learn more about ECW in Wikipedia or Integraph.

To quickly view the ECW or save as another format, download and install the free software ERDAS ER Viewer.


JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) is an open-standard file format that stores data using attribute–value pairs or arrays in a human-readable text. The data hosted on the Open Data Catalogue makes use of the GeoJSON format, which was developed to store data for the representation of geographical features within JSON. Learn more about JSON and GeoJSON through Wikipedia.


The LAS file format is an open/published file format for the interchange of 3-dimensional point cloud data between users. LAS is a binary file format that was developed primarily for the exchange of LIDAR (light detection and ranging) data, but can be used to support the exchange of any data that contains a 3-dimensional x,y,z tuplet. The LAS format specification is overseen by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Committee for File Format Exchange Activities. Learn more about LAS through the ASPRS or ESRI ArcGIS Resources.