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Using data on the Dataset Catalogue and Data Dashboards

Data software and Resource formats

Data software and Resource formats

Expandable Headings on datasets

Resources for viewing the data can be found under various expandable headings underneath a dataset’s description. To display the resources, click on the ‘expand’ icon next to the relevant heading.

Similar resource formats are grouped together under the same heading. For example, resources in spreadsheet or zip formats will appear under the heading “Dataset Packages.  The headings that display will vary from dataset to dataset, depending on what has been provided by the data custodian.

The possible expandable headings on datasets are:

Related Datasets

If the dataset is ‘related’ to other SEED dataset(s), e.g. if it is a subset of a larger parent dataset, “Related Datasets” will appear as the first heading. Expanding this heading will return an interactive list of related datasets (parent, children, siblings).

Data Quality Statement

Most data in SEED is provided with a Data Quality Statement, which provides a description of the characteristics of the data to help the user decide whether the data will be fit for the user’s specific purpose. See the About the Data Quality Statement help page.






  • CSV

‘Comma separated values’ is a simple file format used to store tabular data. This can be opened in excel or added to a spatial software program to create features.

Dataset Packages

  • Email

Data broker contact email to request datasets.


  • GeoTIFF

A standard format that is used as an interchange for georeferenced raster (grid) imagery.


  • JPEG

Compressed image file that can be added to spatial software programs as a raster.


  • LYR

A layer file can be downloaded and added to a spatial viewer (ArcGIS, QGIS etc.). It is a means of preserving a defined symbology for a dataset but is not the actual data which you will need to link the source to.


  • MBTiles

A file format for storing tilesets designed to package up many files (raster or vector) into a singular place.


  • SLD

SLD is a XML document used by GIS software. SLD files store information about maps, such as added layers, text, legend, images, drawings, etc.



Style files store information about how the data should look, it can be added to a spatial viewer such as ArcGIS and is shared to promote consistency in the symbology of data.


  • XLS

Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.


  • XLSX


  • ZIP

A ZIP file typically contains one or more files or directories that have been compressed. For example, a Shapefile is an ESRI vector data format for storing/viewing the geographic location and associated attribute information of points, lines and polygons. It comprises related files usually downloaded from SEED in a .zip package. Shapefiles can be viewed in ArcGIS, MapInfo and QGIS (requires specialist software; for a free read-only version see more information in the section below.

Dataset Web Services

  • ArcGIS Rest Service


An ArcGIS Web Service represents a GIS resource (e.g. a map) that is located on an ArcGIS Server site and is made available to client applications. Requires specialist software. For a free read-only version see more information in the section below.


  • JSON

A JSON file is a file that stores simple data structures and objects in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format. It is primarily used for transmitting data between a web application and a server. JSON files can be opened in your browser.


  • GeoJSON

Is a format for encoding a variety of geographic data features and their non-spatial attributes. GeoJSON files can be opened in various spatial software.


  • KML

‘Keyhole Markup language’ - A service that allows you to view the data on Google Earth. Instructions on how to import KML map data into Google Earth are available via this link.


  • KMZ

‘Keyhole Markup language Zipped’ files are zipped versions of KML files used in Google Earth.


  • WFS
  • WMS
  • WMTS

‘Web Feature Service, Web Map Service, Web Map Tile Service’. These are mediums for sending geospatial data across the Web. WFS provides the detailed information about the features you see on the SEED map, whereas WMS provides the visual aspects. Requires specialist software; for a free read-only version see below.


Map Viewer

  • SEED Web Map

A link to view the data spatially on the SEED map.

If the dataset is viewable on the SEED Map, it will be identified by:
- a ‘Show on SEED Web Map’ link under the ‘Map Viewer’ heading, and
- a ‘Show on SEED Map’ button on the right-hand side of the dataset page.


  • Spatial Viewer

A link to view the data spatially on an external (non-SEED) viewer. This link will take you out of SEED.


  • DOC

Microsoft word document.


  • DOCX


  • PDF

Data Quality Statements and some metadata statements are in PDF format; other resources that are in PDF format will appear under ‘Documents’


  • TXT

Text files store information in unformatted text and can be opened in text editors (such as notepad) or used in spatial software to create tables.


  • XML

(Extensible Markup Language.) For some datasets, the Metadata Statement is also available in XML web format. This format is usually more useful for technical users.

External Links

  • HTML
  • RSS
  • URL

Many datasets have additional resources held on the website of the organisation that owns the data. If applicable, they will be listed under the ‘External Links’ heading.


How to use software resources

Some of the data files and resources provided in SEED require specific software to view them. This page lists free versions of software (usually with some restrictions on use) that you can download from the Internet for this purpose.

Please note:

  • The inclusion of a software product on this page DOES NOT constitute an endorsement by the Department of Planning and Environment or NSW Government. This page only provides suggestions.  Other, equally good, alternatives may exist.
  • The use of some software listed here requires specialist skills. The NSW Government is not responsible for inaccurate conclusions drawn from improper use of software.

Mapping and data software

File Type


Location on Internet

Esri Web Service






May require payment for large files 



Highly technical 


Esri Explorer Products







Microsoft Access

Using web map services

To use Web Map Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS) from SEED:









Follow the steps below:

  1. Select 'New' in the 'Add Layer(s) from a Server' dialogue box.
  2. Select OK.
  3. In the 'Add Layer(s) from a Server' dialogue box, select 'Connect' and then 'Add'. The WMS should now be added.
  4. Select Close

or use the steps provided in the link below:

To use ArcGIS REST Services on any platform, please follow the steps in this link.

For additional information on GIS data and software, refer to ‘Working with GIS data?’. This page provides information on geographic information systems and access to open-source software resources for building GIS maps.

Document and web software

SEED has a built-in Preview pane that allows you to view Microsoft Office and PDF documents without requiring the software on your computer. However, if you wish to open the documents outside of SEED, the following downloads are available:

File Type


Location on Internet


Adobe Acrobat Reader
PDF is a common document format. If the Acrobat Reader is not already installed on your computer, you will be prompted to install it when opening the PDF.



Microsoft Word Viewer



Microsoft Excel Viewer



Web Browser

These file types will open in the Internet web browser included on your computer or device.