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How To Access, Read, and Understand

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How to access LUCO's GIS data

File Format

Identify the appropriate file format by examining the file extension:

Extension File Format
.e00 ARC/INFO version 7.x exportfile
_meta.txt text metadata file associated with exportfile
.gz compressed using 'gzip'
.zip compressed using 'zip' or 'WinZip'
.rtl rtl plotfile for printing to Hewlett Packard plotter
.dgn Microstation
.eps postscript plot file

Exportfile Format:

ARC/INFO datasets are posted here in Single Precision EXPORT format. They are Single Precision coverages, exported from ARC/INFO with the Arc EXPORT command with the COMPRESS NONE option. This creates a .e00 output file suitable for translation programs.

Printing Plotfiles without using Unix:

This little program has been around for a while and I have used it quite a
bit. It is freeware and does not have to be installed, you can put the exe
file anywhere. You simply drag and drop the plot file on top of the program
and then select your printer. For a non UNIX user it is much easier than
doing a "capture printer port" and using the copy command in DOS etc. If you
are sending plot files to someone it is a good file to include.

Download the 32 bit version.

Steven Moslin
GIS Specialist
Conservation Data Centre
PO Box 9344 
Station Prov. Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9M1
(250) 387-3585 ph
(250) 387-2733 fax

Decompression Instructions:

Decopression software for .gz and .zip files can be downloaded from:

Note: The majority of LUCO GIS files are NOT compressed

To use a compressed file, download the compressed file containing the coverage (usually, this will be via ftp, or a WWW browser), being sure to transfer using the 'binary' option, not ASCII. Use one of:
  • DOS command: pkunzip &ltcover_name&gt.zip
  • Unix command: unzip &ltcover_name&gt.zip
  • WinZip (which will handle both types of compression)
to uncompress the file.

Import/Translation of .e00 files

ARC/INFO .e00 exportfiles are not directly usable by some GIS software. They must first be :

  1. translated into another GIS, using its translation software. Many GIS products have software to translate ARC Export (.e00) files.


  2. imported into ARC/INFO coverages. To do this, use the ArcView or ARC/INFO 'IMPORT' command to create an ARC/INFO coverage file.

The FMEBC translation package is a useful tool for translating data between various formats. It is available to download along with documentation and a number of examples. FMEBC won't read .e00 files, but FME at http://www.safe.comdoes.

View/Query Instructions:

ARC/INFO coverages can be viewed with software from ESRI, such as ArcExplorer for Windows 95/NT which is available with a no-charge, royalty-free license. Note that ArcExplorer does not read .e00 files - a translation utility is available from ESRI at http://www.esri.com/software/arcexplorer/aedownload.html


In most directories, there is a README.TXT file. This file is not standard throughout, and outlines coverage metadata at various of levels of detail. It is advisable to read this file BEFORE downloading associated coverages.

With many ARC/INFO coverages is a small .txt file containing simple metadata for the coverage. The information in this file is also contained in an INFO table in the coverage itself (called cover_name.meta).

The BC Environment Data Registry is a useful source of information on metadata for BC government data.


LUCO GIS's standard projection is Albers Equal Area Conic. The datum is NAD83, based on the GRS80 ellipsoid. All coverages are in Albers unless otherwise noted. See BC Environment's Standard Projection web page for parameters and a disscussion of Albers and other projections.


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