A data format determines the logical structure of data. It defines the syntax and semantics of data. The data format provides information on how data is to be interpreted during processing. The reading software must know the data format in order to be able to interpret it without errors.
Data formats can be transformed into other data formats by means of transformations. This process is familiar from everyday life - for example, when a Word file (data format .doc) is to be converted into a document with data format PDF.
A distinction is often made between proprietary file formats and open or standard formats. Proprietary formats are formats that are defined by commercial manufacturers, whereas open formats are defined by committees.
Common examples of file formats are:
Word file - .doc
Excel file - .xls
Image file - .jpg
Audio file - .MP3
Moving image file - .gif
Video file - .mpeg
For Urban Data Platforms mainly tabular & hierarchical data formats are relevant, such as:
Tabular: CSV (Comma-separated values)
Hierarchical: XML (Extensible Markup Language)