GEDCOM is an acronym for GEnealogy Data COMmunication. It is the name used for a special text file format developed by the projects and planning division of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This format was developed so that a common standard of communication could exist between the Church and submitters of genealogical data. This has now evolved into the defacto standard for data exchange between most genealogy software programs and systems.
The GEDCOM standard is being continually developed, and is far too detailed to go into in any depth here, however, here follows a brief overview:
The file contains a set of genealogy data in a structured format. It utilises numbers to indicate the hierarchy and Tags to indicate individual pieces of information within the file.
Below is a file containing data for myself, my wife, and two daughters. It is the equivalent of this chart: