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Transferring Data between Different Software Packages

Researchers often need to transfer data between different software packages in order to carry out analyses. One such example is the need to transfer data between two GIS packages.

Depending on the two software packages involved, it may be possible to import (or read) data from the exporting software directly into the importing software. If this is not possible, it may be necessary to use the exporting software to translate the data into a file format which can then be imported into the importing software. The specific formats and names of the files will vary depending on the specific software packages, but many use the term "interchange" format.


  • Importing - bringing data into a software package
  • Exporting - taking data out of a software package
  • Interchange file format - a file format which enables the transfer of data between two different software packages