View Data

The Southcentral Alaska Science Catalog hosts a variety of data and file formats. This information can be explored using tools available on the Southcentral Alaska Science Catalog website as well as with software installed on your computer. Please review the list below for a description of the most common file formats hosted on Southcentral Alaska Science Catalog, and the best way to view them.


A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present geographic data. This technology can be used to create detailed maps about any data that has a geographic location or position on the earth. Please follow the link above to learn more about the history and use of GIS data. GIS data is stored in table, vector and raster formats.

How to View:

GIS data can be viewed using a variety of software packages, both professional and nonprofessional. The industry standard for creating and exploring GIS data is ArcGIS by ESRI. However, the ArcGIS software can be expensive and complicated to use. As an alternative, comparable software packages including Quantum GIS are easier to learn, provide several of the most useful GIS features, and are free to download and use. It is recommended that you not explore GIS data on a Mac.


Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to represent documents in a manner independent of application software,hardware, and operating systems. Documents are usually shared in the PDF format because they can be opened on any operating system, including the Mac and PC, and are protected from editing.

How to View:

Most internet browsers, including Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox can open PDF files in a browser window. If your browser does not support this capability, download the a free version of Adobe Reader software available for both the Mac and PC. Other PDF readers are also freely available online.

Image Files

Image files are available in a variety of file formats. The most common formats include .jpg, .gif, .tiff, and .png.

How to View:

Common image formats can be viewed using modern web browsers. Images can also be downloaded and viewed using standard image viewers on PC (Windows Photo Viewer) or Mac (iPhoto).