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What is metadata?

Metadata, or in this case Geospatial Metadata, serves to describe practical information about a particular dataset or spatially referenced database such as an Access database. Metadata on PASDA conforms to the Federal Geospatial Data Committee's (FGDC) Content Standard for Geospatial Metadata. Metadata, or data documentation, is important to data sharing and data management.

PASDA Online Metadata Tutorial

This on-line tutorial will illustrate the steps to create metadata using the ESRI ArcCatalog tool. PASDA will also provide on site metadata training. Interested organizations should contact:

Frequently asked questions about metadata implementation:

The answers to all of these questions can be found in the metadata. Adequate CSDGM metadata provides a data layer with a full title and description and identifies the steward of that data, it makes readily apparent the content, quality, sources and collection methods, a data dictionary and other information required for using and archiving data.

What are the main components of metadata and what do they mean?

PASDA maintains metadata for all of the data available for download through the site as well as data made available by organizations and government agencies from throughout the state of Pennsylvania. This provides a clearinghouse through which any potential data user can determine if certain data is available and how to go about acquiring that data.

The metadata standard outlines a formal and structured document that contains information that identifies a dataset and provides vital information pertaining to it's use. It also includes information about how to acquire the data and where to contact for more information about the data. But the real reason for metadata is to provide an answer to the most commonly asked questions. If you have a question about data the first place to look is in the metadata. The answer is usually there.

I found metadata on PASDA that does not have a data download link. How are Metadata and Data on PASDA related?

The most important function of PASDA is identifying and documenting (creating metadata for) data by, for, or about Pennsylvania. The metadata on PASDA serves the same function as the library catalog in your local library. Without the catalog, you can't find the book or you don't know if the book is the one you want. Metadata tells us where the data is and what it is about in our digital data library known as PASDA. However, it is not always possible to acquire all the data that we document since some data creators prefer to distribute data themselves. In these cases, the PASDA metadata serves to alert our users to the existence of the data and provides contact information so users can acquire the data from the provider.

In what format is PASDA metadata?

PASDA metadata is stored in a relational database but can be viewed as HTML on our website or downloaded in XML format.

What is the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)?

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is an interagency Committee, organized in 1990 that promotes the coordinated use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis.

Are there other organizations involved in metadata standards?

Yes. For those interested in biological metadata, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) has developed an biological data profile for metadata based on the FGDC model.

Is there any way to create FGDC metadata in ArcGIS 10

Yes, there is a Help page on PASDA that walks you through how to download and use the FGDC metadata editor for ARCGIS 10.