Open standards

ArcGIS is standards compliant

As a result of Esri’s long-standing commitment to standards and interoperability, ArcGIS supports more than 100 established standards including data formats, metadata and services. Esri continues to work with many standards organisations to develop new standards and update existing ones.

Data formats

The ArcGIS platform gives you the ability to read and write to various data formats. ArcGIS uses data format standards to store geospatial data in a common format or transfer data from system to system via extract, transform and load (ETL) tools for data validation, migration and distribution.

Supported data formats include:


Express geographic data, labels and symbology in 2D and 3D for web map and globes.


An open, portable and platform independent data format based on SQLite.


A global standard for digital aeronautical data.


A global standard for electronic navigational charts and marine environments.


Metadata offers people a common way to understand geospatial data. Metadata standards provide a structure for creating and organising metadata such as consistent terminology for catalogues and global search. Esri provides support for multiple metadata management options to meet specific needs or standards profiles.

ArcGIS supports these metadata standards:

  • ISO 19115
  • FDGC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM)
  • Dublin Core
  • DCAT

ArcGIS also supports custom metadata formats.


Services standards are used to transfer data via the web or provide remote access to data stored on a web server. They allow users to interact with data, usually through simple web clients, on a live and real-time basis. This includes viewing maps, accessing and querying data, running analyses and downloading data.

Supported services include:


Web Map Service (WMS) for sharing maps across the web.


Web Feature Service (WFS) for sharing feature data across the web for direct access to geospatial data.


Web Map Tile Service (WMTS) for sharing pre-cached map tiles across the web for use as basemaps.


Web Processing Service (WPS) for sharing geoprocessing services across the web for performing dynamic geospatial analytics.


Web Coverage Service (WCS) for sharing geospatial data stored and managed as a coverage across the web.


Catalogue Service for the Web (CSW) for sharing geospatial information, typically metadata, stored in XML across the web.

Geospatial standards organisations

ArcGIS supports the following geospatial standards organisations: 


Open Geospatial Consortium


International Organisation for Standardisation Technical Committee 211


American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing


International Hydrographic Organisation

For more information about Esri’s support of open standards email us or call on 1800 870 750.