ESI Format Types

ESI maps are available in a variety of GIS formats as well as in Portable Document Format (PDF) for almost all coastal regions of the U.S. There are some exceptions, particularly in areas where maps have not been updated for some time.

Below is a description of each of the formats available for download.

"View" Formats

Although ESI maps in these formats do include ESI data (such as seasonality or endangered status of biological resources), the data can only be viewed (not queried).

  • PDF: An electronic format that allows you to view and print ESI maps, even if you don't have the mapping software used to create it. In this format, you can use the basic search function to search for keywords in the data table; however, you can't perform the complex queries that are possible with the digital, GIS formats. These maps are best printed on 11 by 17 inch (28 by 43 centimeter) paper, and can be laminated to make them more durable. You can print the full color map on one side, with the data table on the reverse.
  • Summary Maps: Poster-sized, paper maps. Created at a smaller scale and with less detail than typical ESI maps. (For example, fewer species may be mapped, or only the most sensitive shoreline types shown.) Usually produced as a set of 4 seasonal maps, with supporting attributes and text presented on the map. Only available for a few regions.

"View and Query" Formats

Using specific GIS software programs, ESI maps in these formats can be viewed and complex search queries can be performed on the GIS data.

  • Geodatabase: Geographic data in geodatabase format for use in Esri's ArcMap product. An MXD file displays the data in ArcMap 10.x using standard ESI colors and symbology, and the file establishes links to the data tables. You can also download the ESI tools to help you work with ESI data in geodatabase format. (The tools are included on some CDs/DVDs for atlases with geodatabase format; however, we recommend that you download the tools from this site so that you get the most up-to-date version.)
  • T&E Geodatabase: A subset of the traditional ESI geodatabases, focusing on species that are listed as threatened or endangered. Available for most areas. (Learn more about the T&E geodatabases.)
  • ESI Viewer: Geographic data in MARPLOT file format for use in the ESI Viewer program (a freeware mapping and database engine that allows viewing, printing, and simple queries of ESI data). It is comprised of the mapping application (MARPLOT 3.0 series) and associated data tables in a stand-alone version of Filemaker Pro. ESI Viewers are included on the CD/DVDs for atlases with this format.
    • Note: Atlases with geodatabase format have ESI Viewers that are compatible with newer operating systems for Macintosh (OS X) and Windows (2000, XP, and Vista). Older atlases (and newer atlases that haven't been converted to geodatabase format yet) only run in a Classic environment on the Macintosh, and they aren't compatible with Vista.
  • Shapefiles/ArcView 3.x: Geographic data in ArcView shapefile format. For atlases that have data in this format, the CD/DVDs contain an ArcView 3.x project, which has links that allow you to identify and query mapped resources. (The ArcView project is a single view containing a theme for each ESI data layer.) Additionally, the ESI data can be imported into other projects or software that support the shapefile format.
  • ArcExport: Geographic data in uncompressed, double-precision ArcExport format.

ESI maps and data may also be available on CD or DVD at a nominal cost. For information about availability or to order, please contact the ESI specialist.

More Information about ESI Maps

Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) Maps: Overview of ESI maps.

Anatomy of ESI Maps: Brief introduction to the basic elements of ESI maps.

ESI Toolkit: Tools and resources for ESI maps.