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Getting appropriate server software

There are a variety of Clearinghouse service alternatives for compliant Clearinghouse server support. Although a document-based open-source solution, known as Isite is available from the FGDC, commercial solutions using search engine and relational database software are also available.

Isite is recommended for relatively small and stable collections of metadata for either the UNIX or NT platforms where metadata collections or data systems do not already exist. Sites with larger collections, changeable metadata, or an interest in alternative sollutions should examine the alternatives described below.

Isite software

The Isite software creates a server process on a networked server that can respond to queries against full-text , spatial terms, temporal terms, and text fields within metadata documents. If you are interested in setting up a Clearinghouse server, you can download this software as described below for your Clearinghouse server.

Compusult MetaManager Toolkit

If your site manages large quantities of data and metadata where relational databases are either in place or desired for metadata management, then Compusult, Ltd. of Canada has commercial offerings that allow metadata storage in Access, SQLServer, or Oracle and include an FGDC-compliant Z39.50 server. Visit the Compusult site at for more information.

If your site is interested in supporting metadata to support FGDC, GILS and other metadata formats, are interested in a commercial grade metadata repository or in the use of commercial (non-database) search engines or crawlers such as Fulcrum or AltaVista, please consult with Blue Angel Technologies. Their MetaStar Suite provides end-to-end support for metadata collection, indexing, and presentation via Z39.50. See their website at for more information.

ArcIMS Metadata Service

ArcIMS provides the mechanism for hosting a Metadata Service, allowing clients to publish to the service as well as search its contents. In addition to creating and authoring metadata in ArcCatalog, now you can use ArcCatalog to publish metadata to an ArcIMS Metadata Service. The published metadata documents are stored in ArcSDE. Additionally, the ArcIMS Z39.50 Connector makes your metadata available to any Z39.50 client application, such as the NSDI Clearinghouse. For more information see: ArcIMS

Intergraph GeoConnect Metadata Management Server

The GeoConnect product provides a publishing and search facility for metadata created with their SMMS metadata management product. The metadata is stored in a relational database and is exposed via Z39.50 as a compatible NSDI Clearinghouse Node. This product thus makes local collections of metadata web- and Clearinghouse-accessible. For more information see:

The following information is geared towards the Isite package only. If you acquire one of the commercial solutions above, commercial support is available from the companies listed.

Platforms for Isite

The Isite software, as modified by CNIDR for use in Clearinghouse (GEO), is available from the FGDC in compiled binary form. You should not need to recompile the software to make it work at your site unless your platform is unsupported.

Download Isite Software Now


The distribution is compressed file that contains documentation and software. The bin subdirectory contains the executables which may be copied into a command directory (e.g. /usr/local/bin) or be set in the UNIX or Windows 'PATH' environment variable). To see if software is installed on your system, type: "Iindex" at the UNIX or DOS prompt. It should send back command line usage options.

The following executables are provided with the FGDC Isite distribution. These commands should be accessible to the metadata server administrator:

  • Iindex - indexes metadata entries
  • Isearch - provides local search test
  • zclient - provides command-line query of remote or local Z39.50 service
  • izclient - interactive Z39.50 client using ANSI terminal mode
  • zserver - the Z39.50 server process
  • zping - checks the availability of a given (remote) Z39.50 service


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Last Updated: Nov 16, 2011 12:29 PM
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