Metadata Working Group Charter

PDF Version of Current Charter (July 2013)

Original Charter (March 2006)


The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Metadata Working Group (MWG) promotes and coordinates the documentation, discovery, and reuse of geospatial data resources in support of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).

The Metadata Working Group:

  • Promotes awareness and best practices among FGDC member agencies and other interested stakeholders about the metadata component of geospatial data
  • Facilitates the coordination, development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial metadata
  • Supports the implementation of geospatial metadata and other related semantic and structural (e.g., non-geospatial) metadata standards established by Federal, National and International Standards organizations such as the FGDC, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI), Open Source Metadata Framework (OMF), Ecological Metadata Language (EML), and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

The Metadata Working Group is accountable to and provides recommendations to the FGDC Coordination Group, which are the operational authorities responsible for providing leadership and direction in the use and development of geospatial data and information across Federal geospatial programs and in conjunction with public and private sector partners/stakeholders.


FGDC Working Groups are chartered under the FGDC Steering Committee and supported by the FGDC Secretariat which are granted authority through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-16, Executive Order 12906 and the E-Gov Act of 2002. In addition, other OMB guidance or policies may apply including Circulars A-11, A-119 or A-130, the Digital Government Strategy or the Open Data Policy, as appropriate.


The Metadata Working Group addresses local, regional, national, and international geospatial metadata as well as other related semantic and structural (e.g., non-geospatial) metadata standards issues that affect all NSDI Stakeholders. Individual members regularly provide outreach and information to their communities.


The Metadata Working Group:

  • Serves as the geospatial metadata-related information conduit among Federal Agencies and non-federal NSDI Stakeholders.
  • Apprises and educates the community about geospatial metadata standards and their application to geospatial data resources including those relevant to National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) Themes.
  • Leads the coordination of geospatial metadata creation, publication, and implementation activities.
  • Identifies tools, guidance documents and other resources that illustrate the business case for developing metadata and support geospatial metadata implementation, particularly those hosted by the Geospatial Platform.


Metadata Working Group activities support the objectives presented above by:

  • Exchanging and promoting information about geospatial metadata activities including metadata implementation efforts and training opportunities supported by FGDC members and other supporters of the Geospatial Platform and the NSDI.
  • Developing, evaluating, and recommending revisions to geospatial metadata definitions and standards developed by international and national organizations, for example, ANSI, OGC, and ISO.
  • • Advancing metadata standards for FGDC endorsement through the FGDC standards process. The MWG shall designate a representative to the FCDC Standards WG (SWG) to coordinate relevant standards activity.
  • Advancing ISO geospatial metadata transition and identifying implementation best practices.
  • Promoting the publication of digital spatial data through searchable metadata in cooperation with the Geospatial Platform.
  • Facilitating the economic and efficient application of geospatial metadata through sharing of experiences involving metadata applications.


The Metadata Working Group consists of representatives designated by the Federal agencies and draws from other FGDC Subcommittees and Working Groups. Members are expected to be active in the development and application of policies related to the production and use of metadata within their community. Each member agency, Subcommittee, or Working Group may designate its representative, an alternate if desired, and changes thereto, to the Metadata Working Group Chair.

Other organizations (e.g., Tribal, Non-Federal, State, County, Local, Academia, and Private Sector) may be added with the concurrence of the Metadata Working Group Chair. Although non-Federal participants may engage in Metadata Working Group discussions and offer information and opinions, their participation is limited to a non-voting role.

The current membership list is maintained at


The Chair shall be from a Federal FGDC partner agency or the FGDC Secretariat.


The Chair may establish ad hoc subgroups to accomplish the objectives outlined in the planned activities, as needed.


The Metadata Working Group meetings shall be held at the call of the Working Group Chair and conducted at least bi-annually. Meetings may be held virtually or in person. Agenda items will be coordinated with other Working Group members and will be available at least five days in advance of proposed meeting dates.

Decisions shall be on the basis of consensus agreement. Issues to be resolved will be referred promptly to the FGDC Coordination Group for schedule and resolution.

The Metadata Working Group may establish additional rules and procedures for conducting metadata-related business.


The Metadata Working Group will employ tools best suited to meet its responsibilities, such as online webinars, teleconferences, national user forums, annual research initiatives, and cooperative venues, pursuant to the availability of resources. The Metadata Working Group Chair will coordinate working group activities with other Working Groups and Subcommittees, FGDC Coordination Group and other appropriate venues relevant to accomplish key activities and effectively growing the geospatial community.


The Metadata Working Group shall develop an annual summary of accomplishments and planned activities and present it to the FGDC Secretariat and FGDC Coordination Group for acceptance.

The FGDC Secretariat or FGDC Coordination Group may request the MWG to prepare special reports, white papers, technical papers, briefings and the like to address pertinent issues, cross-cutting activities, and/or matters of urgency consistent with the larger FGDC community needs. These requests may come from FGDC Office of the Secretariat, FGDC Coordination Group, or FGDC Member Agencies. The MWG, through the Chair, will submit content for the FGDC Annual Report each year, as requested by the FGDC Secretariat.

The MWG will maintain information about its activities on the Working Group web page on the FGDC website at


This Charter will remain in effect until amended or replaced or until terminated by the FGDC Steering Committee or FGDC Coordination Group.  This Charter will be posted on the FGDC website at

Jennifer Carlino, July 1, 2013  
Working Group Chair & Date 

Approved by the FGDC Coordination Group June 18, 2013