Of course there’s no Open, widely adopted standard for map data. Here are dome of the file formats I’ve encountered:
Digital Elevation Models. “The USGS DEM standard is a geospatial file format developed by the United States Geological Survey for storing a digital elevation model (or surface elevation).”1
Digital Orthophoto Quads
Digital Raster Graphs. These can be viewed using the free version of ESRI’s ArcExplorer GIS.
an (ESRI) ArcInfo (aka ARC/INFO) interchange/export file.
.img files register as Garmin MapSource Map.
.shp files register as ESRI shapefiles. This seems to be one of the more common formats.
Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing, or TIGER, or TIGER/Line is a format used by the United States Census Bureau to describe land attributes such as roads, buildings, rivers, and lakes.2
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