How to Download and View GIS Data
Metadata Files (.txt, .met)
The “.txt” and the “.met” files contain metadata (data about data) for the subject layer. The “.met” files are FGDC-compliant metadata files. The “.txt” files are abbreviated versions of the FGDC-compliant metadata, containing a short description of the layer, sources, etc., as well as a description of the attribute names and values associated with the layer.
IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU READ THE METADATA FILES ASSOCIATED WITH EACH LAYER BEFORE USING THE LAYER.
Both the ‘txt’ and the ‘met’ files are simple ASCII text files, and can be downloaded by clicking the file name, and saving to your local disk. (Depending on your browser, saving to disk may simply entail responding to a prompt, or choosing “Save As..” from the browser “File” menu).
These zipped files are actually 4 files, combined and compressed using a “zip” utility such as WinZip. When unzipped, they will be in ESRI shapefile format, in which each layer consists of a .dbf, .shp, .shx file and .prj file. Together, these 4 files are read as one layer by ArcGIS, as well as by any software that can read the ESRI shapefile format.
The shapefiles have been compressed using a zip utility, and can be downloaded by clicking on the file name, saving to your local disk, and unzipping. (Depending on your browser, saving to disk may simply entail responding to a prompt, or choosing “Save As..” from the browser “File” menu). Once on your local disk, double click the zipped file and extract the shape files using your own unzipping utility.