Hierarchical Data Format (HDF) is a data file format designed by the National Center for Super-computing
Applications (NCSA) to assist users in the storage and manipulation of scientic data
across diverse operating systems and machines. NCSA developed a library of callable routines and
a set of utility programs and tools for creating and using HDF files. This work is now performed by
The HDF Group (THG).
HDF supports a variety of data types: scientic data arrays, tables, and text annotations, as well as several types of raster images and their associated color palettes.
There are two distinct varieties of HDF, known as HDF (version 4 and earlier) and the newer HDF5. These are described in more detail at the THG HDF web site .
Some of the features of HDF are:
HDF files are also self-describing. For each data object in an HDF file, there are predefined tags
that identify such information as the type of data, the amount of data, its dimensions, and its
location in the file. The self-describing capability of HDF files has important implications for
processing scientic data. It makes it possible to fully understand the structure and contents of a
file just from the information stored in the file itself. A program that has been written to interpret
certain tag types can scan a file containing those tag types and process the corresponding data.
Self-description also means that many types of data can be bundled in an HDF file. For example,
it is possible to accommodate symbolic, numerical, and graphical data in one HDF file.
NASA Official: Dr. Norman Loeb
Page Curator: Edward Kizer
Page Last Modified: 11/14/2018 11:28:48 EST
Site Last Modified: 11/14/2018 11:28:59 EST
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