Encoding Standard for Metadata

Document number

not applicable

Maintenance authority

not applicable


This standard defines methods for the encoding of FGDC metadata element structure and content for the purposes of search and retrieval and metadata exchange by declaring an unambiguous computer-readable and parseable format for use within the geospatial data community. The intent of the standard is to permit flexibility in the local capture and management of the metadata and to facilitate consistent access to and exchange of spatial metadata via the National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse and other sharing and publishing mechanisms such as the World Wide Web only where rigorous encoding standards are appropriate.


This proposed standard is to be applied as a preferred exchange format to transfer metadata entries in an ASCII-based form without loss of information or context for the purposes of import and export by Clearinghouse software. It is intended for use among users of FGDC metadata, between metadata producers, editors, and Clearinghouse service providers where the exchange of full content of metadata is required. It is not intended for use as a presentation format. When used with style sheets, the encoding standard may optionally be used to systematize the presentation of FGDC metadata in compatible software and word processing packages. It is not designed to define the internal format of the metadata within a metadata management system or the default presentation format of the metadata, but is intended to assist in the loading (import) and reporting from (exporting) metadata from such systems.

Sponsored by

Clearinghouse Working Group

Project history

 1997-07-28FGDC Standards Working Group
Working draft
Clearinghouse Working Group