Sustainability of Digital Formats: Planning for Library of Congress Collections

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MapInfo Data File (DAT)

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name MapInfo Data File (DAT)

The MapInfo data file (.DAT) stores the feature attribute data in a MapInfo dataset's file group in dBase (III, IV, or V) format.

The .DAT file is a heterogenous format and combines binary and ASCII data. The header contains binary data while the record data is in ASCII (except for binary record data objects like images and/or Binary Large Object Data BLObs).

Relationship to other formats
    Component of MapInfo, MapInfo dataset format
    Subtype of DBF, dBASE Table File (DBF). May use file versions compatible with dBase III, IV, or V.

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings  
LC preference  

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure The MapInfo dataset format, which comprises a group of related files, is developed and regulated as a proprietary GIS dataset format used in MapInfo products. MapInfo's component .DAT file is a dBASE Table File in dBase (III, IV, or V) format which is well documented. As of August 2011, the MapInfo products are maintained and distributed by Pitney Bowes Business Insight.
    Documentation No complete specification is available for the MapInfo format, nor for its component .dat file. A March 2000 article in Spatial News, Notes on the MapInfo® Native table format, provides useful information on the MapInfo format, including the statement, "The structure of MapInfo® .dat file is virtually identical to dBase IV data format." See DBF for documentation for dBASE Table Files in general.
Adoption See MapInfo.
    Licensing and patents See DBF.
Transparency See DBF.
Self-documentation See MapInfo.
External dependencies None for MapInfo_DAT as an individual file.
Technical protection considerations None

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

Normal functionality See MapInfo.

File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension dat
MapInfo dat files are in the dBase format, but do not use the usual .dbf extension for such files.
Internet Media Type application/dbf

Notes Explanation of format description terms


Format specifications Explanation of format description terms

Useful references


Last Updated: 02/27/2017