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Vector data types

When we talk about vector data we are talking about non-raster data. This includes many vector data types: GIS data, CAD data, Lidar data, etc.

Table of contents


The same information used contain different information store as vector data differently.

Let's see an example on what information we can expect to find about a building in:

  • GIS data: a point or polygon with information about its exact position in the earth, general information like height, antiquity, area, etc.
  • Lidar data: a point cloud with very detailed information of the surface of the building.
  • CAD data: a set of lines, and points with very detailed information about the distribution of the building.
  • etc.

So, based on the tools that where use to collect/generate the information we could differentiate several vector data types. Each data type has it own strengths for the purpose it was build but and the same time can be complementary to other data types.

Vector data types

  • GIS data: Objects on the surface of the earth (roads, rivers, neighborhoods, public lighting, houses, etc.)
  • CAD data: Very detailed models of 2D and 3D objects (buildings, engines, etc.)
  • Lidar data: Detailed 3D representations generated by airborne or terrestrial laser scanning (commonly used to make high-resolution maps)
  • Transit schedule data: Information about public transportation schedules and associated geographic information.
  • ...

Vector data representation

There are three different geometries used to represent vector data: points, polylines and polygons.

And also have attribute information.

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