About geographic data formats
Most of the topics in this help section document how to use the geodatabase and a few other primary data formats that are native to ArcGIS. In addition to geodatabases, a fundamental goal of ArcGIS is to work with numerous file-based data types; DBMS data—including spatial types in the DBMS; and GIS web services from Google, Bing, ArcIMS, and ArcGIS for Server and others such as OGC web services. This topic provides an overview about many of the foreign spatial data formats supported by ArcGIS.
ArcGIS lets you work with a number of data formats from many sources. Some of the supported data sources are listed here.
List of data formats supported in ArcGIS
ArcGIS for Server geocode services
ArcGIS for Server globe services
ArcGIS for Server image services
ArcGIS for Server map services
ArcIMS feature services
ArcIMS map services
Geodatabases (personal geodatabase, file geodatabase, and ArcSDE geodatabase)
OGC WCS services
OGC WMS services
OLE DB tables
PC ARC/INFO coverages
See the full list of supported raster dataset file formats.
Text files (.txt)
Excel files (.xls)
SDTS (point, raster, and vector)
SLF TIGER (through v2002)
The ArcGIS Data Interoperability extension for Desktop
In addition, Esri and Safe Software have integrated the Safe Software FME product into ArcGIS as an optional extension product named the ArcGIS Data Interoperability extension for Desktop. This adds support for over 70 additional data formats that can be used directly within ArcGIS.
It also gives you the ability to define new custom data sources and data transformation procedures that help you perform advanced data transformations between a variety of GIS and tabular data structures.
In general, most external data sources are used as feature classes or raster data sources within ArcGIS.