Selecting a Geospatial Metadata Standard

Which metadata standard should you use?  Preferably an ISO geospatial metadata standard.  While the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM) will continue to have a legacy for many years, federal policy states that non-Federally authored standards that are endorsed by the FGDC have the same status as FGDC developed standards.  Since ISO 191** series of standards are endorsed by the FGDC, federal agencies are encouraged to transition to ISO metadata as their agencies are able to do so.  While the selection of appropriate standards is dependent on the nature of your metadata collection and publication process, ISO metadata should be considered an option now. Learn more about the Benefits of ISO Metadata.

1. Consider Metadata Collection Type

 If you have a metadata collection whose contents can be accessed as XML or metadata management software that supports ISO metadata… consider converting your CSDGM metadata in XML format into the ISO XML format (see the NOAA CDDC metadata transform) and use an ISO metadata editor tool to create and update it. Most commercial and open source metadata editors (ISO Metadata Editors Registry) can transform your CSDGM metadata to ISO.

 If you have a largely static CSDGM metadata collection, one that is embedded in a database in which conversion to ISO is not supported, or cannot afford conversion… consider keeping the representation in CSDGM format until such time as your software and fiscal environment can support conversion.

 If you are planning a geospatial software lifecycle update… include a conversion of your CSDGM metadata to ISO XML at that point in the refresh cycle. The new solutions should manage and allow the transform of your CSDGM metadata to ISO.

2. Consider Data Type

The type of geospatial resource you document will affect your standard selection.

  • CSDGM was developed for the documentation of GIS vector, raster and point data.
  • ISO 19115/-1 was developed for the documentation of GIS vector and point data and geospatial data services such as web-mapping applications, data catalogs, and data modeling applications.
  • ISO 19115-2 extension adds elements to describe imagery and gridded data as well as data collected using instruments, e.g. monitoring stations and measurement devices.
  • ISO 19110 was developed to document feature catalogs (entity/attributes) and can be referenced or incorporated into a 19115-1 record.

Learn more about the Benefits of ISO Metadata.