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Data Format Conversion

  • By: Dylan Keon
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Data format conversion refers to the conversion of digital data from one encoding scheme to another. Common examples include the conversion of a Microsoft Word document to Adobe PDF format, a TIFF image to JPEG format, and a WAV audio file to MP3 format. Many popular software packages provide Save As, Import, and Export functions, all of which perform data format conversions. While certain data conversion operations retain all data (lossless conversion), others result in an irrecoverable loss of data (lossy conversion). For example, when an uncompressed image (e.g., TIFF format) is converted to JPEG (a lossy format), certain bits are eliminated during the conversion, resulting in a permanent loss of data and a concomitant reduction in file size. Some lossless conversions (e.g., of a ...

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