Throughout data.wa.gov.au you'll find reference to various types of APIs, types of data, as well as technical terms and acronyms, so we've put together a quick jargon busting guide.
Web Mapping 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 services available via data.wa.gov.au are served through SLIP.
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 services available via data.wa.gov.au are served through SLIP.
Shapefile: An older but still very popular format for spatial datasets. Easy to read, manipulate, and convert to other data formats using spatial software packages.
Service Map Package: A proprietary format created by the spatial sofware company, ESRI, for storing spatial data and their associated styles. Only acessible to users with ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Pro.
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.