Does anyone know of a chart or table that would explain the benefits / shortcomings of the different vector file formats, eg. .shp, .gml, .kml, .gdb. It seems that ESRI shape is still quite prolific, but since we are constantly "trading" data with other places, pieces of the shape data tend to be forgotten (.shx, etc.).

We are thinking of switching to .kmz files but what would we lose by doing so?

I don't believe all of the attribute data comes over with the .kml/kmz files.

Is this comparison possible, or am I trying to compare apples and oranges?

closed as too broad by PolyGeo Mar 7 '17 at 3:37

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    I doubt the comparison is possible without more context, specifically, the GIS software product(s) in use. There are multiple ways to encode attribute data within KML, which can change the effectiveness of that format. – Vince Jun 27 '14 at 15:53

KML lacks support for projections. All data must be in lat/long using the WGS 84 datum. That can make it a pain to use as a data transfer format. It's worth taking a look at GeoPackage. It's a relatively new spec, but there are already a number of implementations out there. It's a single file (SQLite DB, supports all sorts of projections, and doesn't have the asinine limitations of shapefiles. IMHO I think it's going to replace the shapefile as the defacto format for transfering vector data (raster/tile support is also part of the GeoPackage spec, but is not implemented as widely).

Also this question should provide some more detail.

  • Thanks. I know that .shp is on it's way out and have read about GeoPackage. While I agree that this is the future, I was looking more for "what do we lose" by going to .kmz files vs. .shp files. However, your point is well taken and we will definitely look into reading/writing to this schema to ensure we stay current. – user25839 Jun 30 '14 at 15:37

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