The field of GIS includes a large number of file formats and not all software packages are compatible with each file format. Below is a list of common GIS file formats and the software(s) they are compatible with. The library's GIS workstations have the software packages listed below each file format: ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Desktop, AutoCAD Map 3D, QGIS, Global Mapper, and Google Earth Pro. If you are a current Carleton student you can get your own copy of ArcGIS Pro or Desktop from us and load it on your own computer if you are interested, and QGIS is open source and freely available.

It is worth noting that the library GIS workstations also have FME Desktop, which is a software that can convert a file from one format to many others (e.g.: shapefile to AutoCAD Drawing and back again). If you require this kind of file conversion, please email us at

**All software mentioned below is available on the GIS workstations in the library, unless otherwise noted.

Common GIS file formats

Uncommon or obsolete GIS file formats that you may see

Content last reviewed: