Paleo Home Research Data Education What's New Features Paleo Perspectives Site Map Mirror Sites National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina navigation bar

GPD ASCII Format - Structure

Each GPD ASCII format file contains 2 sections, a Comments section and a Data section. The Data section is further subdivided into a header, a variables list, and the data for each sample.

Comments This section includes site information, radiocarbon dates, publications, etc. Comment lines begin with a pound sign (#).
Data This section includes a one line header, followed by a complete listing of the pollen variables, followed by the sample information and the data (pollen counts or percentages).
Data Header A single line containing two integer values separated by a space. The first value is the number of variables and second value is the number of samples in the file.
Variables Listing The listing contains 4 columns: the first is a sequential integer, which corresponds to the position of the data value for that variable in the data section; the second column contains an 8-character, short name for the variable; the third column contains a 1-character code for the pollen group (A=trees and shrubs, B=herbs); the fourth column contains the complete name of the pollen variable.
Data Blocks Following the list of variables comes one block of data for each sample in the file. The first line in this block is the sample information, the remaining lines are the data (counts or percentages) for each variable for that sample.
Sample Information The sample information consists of up to three pieces of information separated by commas: the first piece of information is the depth of the sample (in cm); the second is the name of the sample (this is frequently blank); the third is the age of the sample (in years B.P.), which may be blank if there is no chronology.
Data Following the sample information is the data, the actual counts or percentages for each variable. You are guaranteed that there will be one value for each variable, but not that there will be any specific number of values per line. If a file contains 17 variables then there will be 17 data values, but these could be spread over the next two or three lines.

GPD ASCII Format and Tilia

GPD ASCII Format files can be read using Tilia's Load Data File, and General Format menu selections.

More questions? Contact John Keltner at

27 June 1997