Generic Sensor Format (GSF)

GSF is designed to efficiently store and exchange information produced by geophysical measurement systems before it has been processed into either vector or raster form.

Generic Sensor Format (GSF) has become a standard file format for bathymetry data and is widely used in the maritime community. This single-file format is one of the U.S. Department of Defense Bathymetric Library (DoDBL) processing formats. GSF is configuration managed by Leidos. Change management is overseen by a configuration control board that maintains final approval authority for updates to GSF. GSF is designed to efficiently store and exchange information produced by geophysical measurement systems before processing into either vector or raster form. The structure is particularly useful for data sets created by systems such as multibeam echosounders that collect a large quantity of data. GSF is designed to be modular and adaptable to meet the unique requirements of a variety of sensors.

The goals of GSF are:

  • Portability among all major computing platforms
  • Efficiency in terms of storage volume and data access
  • Consistency with other DoDBL formats
  • Extensibility so that new types of data and measurements can be easily incorporated
  • Endorsement by the major groups of users outside the DoDBL

The GSF format, and code to read it, is updated to keep current with new technologies and uses. New releases of the GSF library are generally made once or twice each year. However, the frequency of updates to GSF in any particular year depends on technology advances and community requests for updates to GSF. New GSF releases provide an expansion of capability while striving to preserve all previous capability. A formal change request, approval, and release management process is followed for all updates made to the format and the access library. By downloading and using the GSF distribution, you consent to use an approved distribution obtained from this web site. Parties interested in an update to the library are encouraged to provide their request through the registration link provided below. A GSF version release includes the following items:

  • GSF specification documentation
  • GSF change request documents summarizing the approved updates for this release
  • GSF library (GSFlib) documentation
  • Source code that comprise the GSF library (C language source code)


GSF Release Versions

  • GSFv03.07, released June 31, 2016 is a maintenance release that:
    • Corrected a problem with corrupting index files when appending to them.
  • GSFv03.06, released June 30, 2014 is a maintenance release that:
    • Fixed issues with the 64 bit support to prevent redefinition of 64 bit macros from the standard library.
    • Fixed memory issue with appending index files with a lot of scale factor records.
  • GSFv03.05, released May 2, 2014 is a maintenance release that:
    • Updated to support GSF files larger than 2 GB.
    • Added support for EM2040 sonars.
    • Updated to handle GSF files collected in the local time zone.
  • GSFv03.04, released June 15, 2012 is a maintenance release that:
    • Corrects problems with encoding and decoding the two-bit quality flags array
    • Corrects a problem with indexing a partial record at the end of the file
    • Explicitly declares certain function arguments as constant
    • Provides a new function for accessing the gsfError value
  • GSFv03.03, released November 18, 2011 is an enhancement that:
    • Adds support for Kongsberg EM12 multibeam systems
    • Adds support for R2Sonic multibeam systems
    • Adds several additional parameters to the processing parameter record
    • Adds additional uncertainty fields to the navigation uncertainty record
    • Resolves a problem with encoding and decoding 12 bit imagery
  • GSFv03.02, released October 1, 2010 is an enhancement that:
    • Adds new query functions to provide specific information on the contents of the source data
    • Adds support for Kongsberg EM2040
    • Adds support for Imagenex Delta-T
    • Adds several additional parameters to the processing parameter record
    • Adds additional uncertainty fields to the navigation uncertainty record
    • Resolves problems with removal of temporary files used to create index file
  • GSFv03.01, released April 27, 2009 is an enhancement that adds support for GPS-based Vertical Control, the RESON 7125, and the Kongsberg EM2000.
  • GSFv2.09, released June 05, 2008 is an enhancement release that adds support for bathymetry data from the Klein 5410 interferometer.
  • GSFv2.08, released December 10, 2007 is a maintenance update that provides resolution of reported problems.

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