Hierarchical Data Format (Version 4)
|The HDF Group
4.0 | 16 Votes
What is an HDF file?
An HDF file is a scientific dataset saved in version 4 of the Hierarchical Data Format. Typically, HDF files contain large, multiobject datasets, which can consist of multidimensional arrays, tabular data, raster images, and other data. Scientists, engineers, and others use HDF files to store, share, and analyze data.
The U.S. National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NSCA) created the HDF format to serve as a universal, portable format for storing and transferring scientific data. Environmental scientists, aeronautical engineers, physicists, and others often save scientific datasets as HDF files. For example, NASA's Earth Observing System, a series of satellites that collects Earth climate data, saves datasets in the HDF format.
The original HDF format, now known as HDF4, has since been superseded by HDF5. (HDF5 datasets are saved as .H5 files). In 2006, responsibility for maintaining both versions of the HDF format was passed to The HDF Group, a non-profit created specifically to advance and promote HDF. While HDF datasets are now more commonly saved in the HDF5 format, The HDF Group and most HDF-related applications still support HDF4.