Formats of Data Files

The data which may be downloaded from the "Land Degradation in South Africa" site is available in a number of formats to enhance its accessibility. Firstly, all files are zipped using WinZip, a fully functional trial version of which may be downloaded from this site (http://www.winzip.com). These files may also be extracted using pkunzip if this is available.


Documents, such as the technical report (Literature Review), are available in either MS Word 97 format or as MS-DOS plain text with line breaks. The latter format forfeits all imbedded images, etc. but has the advantage of providing a text-only version of the document in a small, rapidly downloadable file. This is a useful format to download as a first look to find which chapter from the technical report is relevant, for example, before committing to a large (up to 8MB in some instances) download of the full MS Word 97 document.

Certain documents, such as the Contact directory, are only made available in plain-text format since they do not require special formatting. These may still be viewed using a more sophisticated wordprocessing package such as MS Word.


The bibliography is made available in a plain-text listing of the reference database, sorted by author, and also in Reference Manager v.7 (Research Information Systems) format. The latter provides the capacity to load the database and perform searches based on keywords, for instance, for people with access to the Reference Manager package. For those restricted to the plain-text version, only simple searches are possible (using a package such as MS WordPad, text may be searched for by pressing Ctl+F).

 Spreadsheet Data

Workshop, provincial and district data files are available in MS Excel 97 format (*_xls.zip) and comma-delimited plain-text format (*_csv.zip). The latter may be imported into any spreadsheet package which can correctly interpret comma-delimited files.

 Geographic Information Systems

An ArcView v.3.1 shapefile directory is provided for those with access to ArcView (Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.). This provides a spatial display of the district-level workshop and environmental data assimilated during the course of the project.

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