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Spatial Data Transfer Standard - Topological Vector Profile

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name Spatial Data Transfer Standard - Topological Vector Profile (SDTS-TVP)

Topological Vector Profile (TVP) is a profile of SDTS (Spatial Data Transfer Standard) for use with geographic vector data with planar (i.e. two-dimensional) graph topology. The purpose of the data transfer in scope is not to convey the map graphic, but rather information about the geographic features displayed on the map. The data are represented by vector objects which "comprise, or are integrated with, one or more 2-D manifolds. Excluded are raster data, geometry-only vector data, planar graphs which do not have GT-polygons, and non-planar graph-based network data." Note: Two-dimensional manifolds and GT-polygons are geometrical constructs defined in the parent SDTS standard among other "spatial objects." Their mandatory nature in this profile ensures that datasets describe features that can be successfully represented on a two-dimensional surface in a complete way, as required for generating a map.

TVP was designed to accommodate the USGS DLG-3 and DLG-F data, along with the Census Bureau's TIGER data.

Production phase Middle-state format used for data transfer.
Relationship to other formats
    Subtype of SDTS, Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS)
    Contains ISO_8211, ISO/IEC 8211 Data Descriptive File (DDF). This profile requires ISO_8211 serialization. For the parent SDTS standard, ISO_8211 is recommended but not required.

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings  
LC preference  

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure Openly documented profile of Spatial Data Transfer Standard, developed under the auspices of USGS and published as part of open standard ANSI INCITS 320-1998 (R2003)
    Documentation Part 4 of [ANSI INCITS 320-1998 (R2003)]. An earlier version of the profile specification, dated July 13, 1993) is available from USGS as Spatial Data Transfer Standard Part 4: Topological Vector Profile.

SDTS_TVP has been approved by FIPS and FGDC (as FGDC-STD-002.4).

The TVP profile accommodates the USGS DLG-3 and DLG-F data, along with the Census Bureau's TIGER data.

As of November 2011, the National Atlas, which has made vector map layers available in both SDTS_TVP and Shapefile formats, indicates that support for SDTS_TVP will be dropped in January 2012.

Most major GIS applications can import data in this format. A variety of software packages can convert datasets in the SDTS Topological Vector Profile. See

    Licensing and patents No known license or patent concerns for generation and use of the format. Comments welcome.
Transparency See SDTS.
Self-documentation See SDTS.
External dependencies See SDTS.
Technical protection considerations See SDTS.

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension See related format.  See SDTS.
This string should appear in the PRID subfield of IDEN (identification) module(s) for the dataset, possibly followed by one or more of "/D", "/E", or "/F", indicating use of extensions described in annexes D, E, and F. See Notes below.

Notes Explanation of format description terms

General The specification provides three annexes (D, E, F) which provide for optional extensions to the profile, allowing respectively for inclusion of arcs (not just lines) as components of polygons, of nested rings, and of graphic representation specification (e.g. symbol and area fill representations). Use of these profile extensions should be indicated in the Subfield PRID of IDEN module(s) for a dataset.
History A version of SDTS was standardized in 1994 as NIST FIPSPUB 173-1. This was superseded by a version, known as ANSI NCITS 320-1998 that was ratified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) June 9, 1998. Part 4, Topological Vector Profile, was not changed in substance between the 1994 and 1998 documents. ANSI NCITS 320-1998 was re-affirmed in 2003 and 2008 without change.

Format specifications Explanation of format description terms

Useful references


Last Updated: 02/27/2017