Reference document

Image Processing and Interchange (IPI) - Functional Specification - Part 5: Basic Image Interchange Format (BIIF)


This part of ISO/IEC 12087 establishes the specification of the Basic Image Interchange Format (BIIF) part of the standard. BIIF is a standard developed to provide a foundation for interoperability in the interchange of imagery and imagery-related data among applications. This part of ISO/IEC 12087 provides a detailed description of the overall structure of the format, as well as specification of the valid data and format for all fields defined with BIIF. Annex C contains a model profile in tables to assist in profile development. As part of the ISO/IEC 12087 family of image processing and interchange standards, BIIF conforms to the architectural and data object specifications of ISO/IEC 12087-1, the Common Architecture for Imaging. BIIF supports a profiling scheme that is a combination of the approaches taken for ISO/IEC 12087-2 (PIKS), ISO/IEC 10918 (JPEG), ISO/IEC 8632 (CGM), and ISO/IEC 9973 (The Procedures for Registration of Graphical Items). It is intended that profiles of the BIIF will be established as an International Standardised Profile (ISP) through the normal ISO processes (ISO/IEC TR 10000).

The scope and field of application of this part of ISO/IEC 12087 includes the capability to perpetuate a proven interchange capability in support of commercial and government imagery, Programmer’s Imaging Kernel System Data, and other imagery technology domains in that priority order.

This part of ISO/IEC 12087 provides a data format container for image, symbol, and text, along with a mechanism for including image-related support data.

This part of ISO/IEC 12087 satisfies the following requirements

  • Provides a means whereby diverse applications can share imagery and associated information.
  • Allows an application to exchange comprehensive information to users with diverse needs or capabilities, allowing each user to select only those data items that correspond to their needs and capabilities.
  • Minimizes preprocessing and postprocessing of data.
  • Minimizes formatting overhead, particularly for those applications exchanging only a small amount of data and for bandwidth-limited systems.
  • Provides a mechanism (Transportable File Structure, TFS) to interchange PIKS image and image-related objects.
  • Provides extensibility to accommodate future data, including objects.

When the extensibility of this part of ISO/IEC 12087, or the inherent constraints of the structured format of BIIF, do not meet the needs of a more complex application, the concepts and features of 12087-3 (IIF) should be considered as a more appropriate method of image interchange. For example, the ability to support complex combinations of heterogeneous pixel types, self defining pixel structures, or abstract structures can be done with IIF.

Responsible Party





Flag Date RFC Version
added 2001-11-09 0.3
changed 2005-09-06 0.7
changed 2007-08-02 2
changed 2010-10-31 5
changed 2012-11-29 7
deleted 2017-01-26 9-21 10
changed 2017-03-25 9-6 10
changed 2022-12-20 14-62 15
changed 2023-03-23 14-73 15


This standard is used by the following service profiles: