Geospatial Resources at EPA

EPA Region 2 GIS Deliverables Guidance

Introduction and Scope

This document is intended to provide specific requirements and file delivery formats for all GIS materials developed in support of EPA Region 2 projects. These work products include GIS and imagery files that are created for EPA, including but not limited to products created under grants, interagency agreements and contracts.

GIS Data Files

All final version spatially enabled files acquired or developed to support mapping and/or spatial analysis through an EPA funded project are considered property of the EPA and are required to be submitted to EPA. This includes but is not limited to all GIS, CAD, and image formatted data. Only final versions of each layer are required for delivery to EPA, and must be in an approved format as specified in this document. In addition, all electronic geospatial data, whether vector or raster, must have spatial reference information and be projection defined (have its coordinate system identified and embedded in or associated with the data file), and in the case of CAD data must NOT be in page space or a custom site-specific projection. All CAD data should be in known real world coordinate space, ideally in geographic/decimal degrees/NAD83. Should tabular data be appropriate to connect location information with attribute information, then documentation specifying the primary and foreign keys is required. Should coordinate information be provided in tabular format it should contain at minimum the following fields:

ID - a unique identifier given to each feature
Latitude - the Y coordinate in decimal degrees
Longitude - the X coordinate in decimal degrees
Horizontal Datum - the datum of the coordinates.

Additionally all static maps should be in an electronic Adobe PDF format with fonts embedded and at a resolution of 300 dots per inch (dpi) or greater. Finally, all ArcMap documents (.mxd) or equivalent map document formats used in final map production are also required for delivery to EPA with accompanying data in a stand-alone directory structure. Map document formats also need to be configured to use relative paths and not be set to use a printer-specific paper setting.

Metadata and Projection Requirements

All GIS files developed for EPA are required by Executive Order 12906 to have associated metadata. EPA requires FGDC compliant metadata on all GIS files developed for deliverables. It is important to understand that deliverables are not considered complete without metadata. Region 2 also requires that all dynamic maps (ArcMap documents) have metadata completed. The Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata can be found at Metadata, including information about the data's projection, can be developed using one of several built-in or add on tools within a GIS, and typically is associated with the geometry file as an XML file. EPA has created the EPA Metadata Editor (EME) which is available for free download here and this tool can be used to help create FGDC compliant metadata. EPA Region 2 GIS staff are available to consult and advise on development of required metadata.

All GIS files submitted to EPA must have spatial reference information that describes the projection, datum, and where applicable the collection methods. The EPA prefers to have vector data be submitted in geographic coordinate system, decimal degree units, and either NAD83 or WGS84 datum.  Raster data, such as aerial photographs may be submitted in their native projection, and maps should be in the appropriate projection/coordinate system for the area depicted.

Delivery Requirements and Standard Organizational Structures

EPA will accept data delivered on CD-ROM, DVD, or external hard drive, as well as direct electronic submission via email or FTP site. Other delivery methods may be allowed if those requirements present a significant burden or as technology changes.

If the project is complex, a directory structure and readme text file in the upper level directory that describes the structure are required. A recommended directory structure is as follows:

Docs (reports, SOPs, correspondence, and other such documents)
|_ Images (aerial photos, satellite imagery, logos, DEMs, and other raster type data)
|_ Maps (MXDs and PDFs. Map names should use the project name as a prefix)
|_ Shapes (geodatabases, shape files, and other approved vector data formats)
|_ Source (original unmodified data that may have been acquired from external/internal sources)
|_ Tables (MS-Access databases, spreadsheets, delimited text files, or other such tabular data not stored in a geodatabase)

File naming conventions should be logical, consistent, and contain no spaces or special characters. An underscore may be used in lieu of a space.

EPA Acceptable Data Formats

The following file formats are considered acceptable and all maps and data must include an associated metadata document:

Vector - prefer projected to geographic, decimal degrees, NAD83 - other defined projections allowed
Shape File (.shp, .shx, .dbf, .prj, .sbx, .sbn)
File Geodatabase (.gdb)
Personal Geodatabase (.mdb)
Oracle Dump (.dmp)
XML Workspace Document with dependencies clearly documented (.xml)
Raster native projection acceptable
TIFF image with world reference file or as a GeoTIFF (.tif, .tfw)
JPEG image with world reference file (.jpg, .jpw)
ERDAS Imagine image with pyramid file (.img, .rrd)
MrSid image (.sid)
TINs appropriate projection/coordinate system for the area depicted
CAD projected to geographic, decimal degrees, NAD83
DXF layer separates (.dxf)
Tabular primary keys should be clearly identified/documented
MS-Access database (.mdb)
MS-Excel spreadsheet (.xls)

Delimited text file (.txt, .csv)

Adobe PDF at 300 dpi or better with embedded fonts (.pdf)
ArcMap document with associated data files in a stand-alone directory structure using relative paths (.mxd)
XML (.xml)


The following checklist may be used to assist in complying with these standards:

Is each vector file, CAD included, in geographic, decimal degrees, NAD83?
Is each raster file in its native projection?
Is each data file one of the EPA acceptable formats?
Does each data file have FGDC compliant metadata in an associated file?
Are the primary and foreign keys documented for tabular data?
Is a README text file included with a directory structure explaining how the structure is organized?
Is each static map provided in an electronic format at a resolution of 300 dpi or higher?
Does each static map have fonts embedded?
Has the page and print setup for map documents been configured to NOT use printer-specific paper settings?
Are map documents set to use relative paths?
Are map names prefixed with the project name?
Are map documents accompanied with their relevant data in a stand-alone directory structure?
Does each map have FGDC compliant metadata in an associated file?

For any additional information about EPA Region 2 GIS technical guidance, please email