Information Management: Data Format Guidelines

IM Guide » Data Submission » Data Format Guidelines

Data Categories 

Three categories of research data are currently supported by the CWT Information Management System:

  • tabular data sets (e.g. tables of numbers and coded text values) 
  • images and text files (e.g. photos, sketches, interview transcipts)
  • spatial data (e.g. shapefiles, georeferenced rasters, etc.)

Submission guidelines are presented separately below for each category and there are additional sets of instructions

Tabular Data Sets

Procedures for submitting tabular data are somewhat flexible and can be tailored to suit each investigator's needs and software preferences.  Tab or comma delimited text files are the preferred method for submitting tabular data. However, data can also be submitted as a spreadsheet file or other binary. If you are unsure of the compatability of your files, please check our Data Distribution Format page or email the Information Manager prior to submission in order to confirm compatibility). Guidelines for how tabular data sets should be organized are provided in the Format Guidelines for Tabular Data Section of the IM Guide.

Images and Text File Data Sets

Non-georeferenced image and text file data sets can be documented, but the CWT Data Submission Form requires special instructions for text files and standalone images. Please contact the Information Manager to discuss text and image files..

Spatial Data Sets

Tabular data contained within vector GIS files can exported to text using most GIS programs and then copied into the standard CWT Data Submission Form The Coweeta LTER provides data archiving, documentation, and discovery services for spatial data through both our own data portals and through LNO data portals. However, please note that spatial-vector and spatial-raster data are not included in our metadata. Our preferred file formats are ESRI Shapefile file stacks for vector data and ERDAS Imagine image files (.IMG) for raster data. However, we will work with researchers who wish to submit data in other formats. All data should be submitted in zip file archives that also provide files that include projection information. If you are unsure of the compatability of your files, please email the Information Manager prior to submission in order to confirm compatibility). Additional Guidelines for how  data sets should be organized are provided in the Format Guidelines for Spatial Data Section of the IM Guide.