Throughout Data WA you'll find reference to various types of APIs, file formats, as well as technical terms and acronyms, so we've put together a quick jargon busting guide.
Web Map Service (WMS) - A service for generating sets of image tiles used in web mapping. It converts raw spatial datasets into georeferenced images and is a widely used international open standard; as well it supports querying the data ("Tell me about the features at a point"). WMS from multiple geospatial data platforms are available via Data WA, including SLIP and the Main Roads WA open data portal.
Web Feature Service (WFS) - A service for retrieving raw geospatial datasets and running queries against a dataset (e.g. "Tell me all of the points in this area where the
type is 'red'."). Unlike a WMS the output of a WFS service must first be passed to software that can visualise spatial data. WFS from multiple geospatial data platforms are available via Data WA, including SLIP and the Main Roads WA open data portal.
Shapefile (SHP) - An older but still very popular format for spatial datasets. Easy to read, manipulate, and convert to other data formats using spatial software packages. Shapefiles have a number of limitations, including a file size limit of 2GB.
File Geodatabase (FDGB) - A collection of files in a folder with the .gdb extension that can store, query, and manage spatial and nonspatial data. Unlike shapefiles, a geodatabase can store multiple feature classes or type of features within one file.
GeoPackage - An open, non-proprietary, platform-independent and standards-based format for spatial data, developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).
GeoJSON - An open standard format for spatial data, based on the JSON format.
Data dictionaries - Documents prepared by data custodians with further in-depth information about their datasets, including descriptions and examples of each of the fields in the dataset.