Could you provide us with a useable summary of all the answers to
your SDTS odyssey? I'm sure others would really appreciate it.

- Bill Thoen

SDTS (Spatial Data Transfer Standard) is a data file format used by the USGS.
First I downloaded the files from, I found this site
to be useful in obtaining data for my particular area of study (Spokane WA). I
found the information I needed, but it was zipped in a (.tar.gz) format, I
discovered that in order to extract these files properly using WinZip I had to
uncheck the TAR File Smart CR/LF conversion box located under
OPTIONS>CONFIGURATION (note do not use WinZip Wizard).  In addition you must
first rename the zip file from xyz_tar to xyz.tar.gz. Upon unzipping the file I
found there were a number of files with a .ddf extension. These are the SDTS
files. I found an executable file located at
this file called sdts2mif converted the .ddf files to a .mif file. I then
imported the .mif file into MapInfo. I then discovered that I also needed a file
called the Master Data Dictionary. I found this file at All in all I found that
using SDTS data is a very time consuming and tedious process. I hope that this
information can help someone who like me was unexperienced in using SDTS data.
Thanks for all the help I got from members of this list.

Hope This Helps

Kris Kobylski
GIS Analyst
Nextlink Communications Inc

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