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Creating Metadata

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Download FGDC Metadata Editor for ArcGIS 10 Here


The identification section contains ten sub-sections. This is the largest section of the metadata standard and one of the most important. The general tab contains specific information about the data (what is it and why?) and what you can use the data for.



The contact tab contains information on the person/organization who is the data steward for this dataset. A sub-tab in this section contains address information.




The Citation tab contains information on the date and originator of the dataset. The title in this section will be the heading on the top of the metadata record, be descriptive and use a year (if possible) in your title.


Identification:Time Period

This section refers to the calendar date and time of the data. For some datasets year is fine, for some data (Ex. aerial photographs) date and time can be important. The Currentness Reference box offers you a drop down menu of either publication date or ground condition. This means does the Time Period of Content refer to the ground condition (real world view of that date) or a later publication date.



Is this dataset completed or have you started documenting it before it is finished (perfectly valid by the way). How often will this dataset be updated? Some data is updated weekly, other data is never updated.


Identification: Spatial Domain

There are two tabs in this section General and Bounding Coordinates. If you click on the CREATE/UPDATE metadata button, both of these tabs will populate automatically, if your data has spatial reference. If you do not have a spatial reference defined, you will have to define a projection in ArcTool Box.



Identification: Keywords

The most important sections of the keyword page are Theme Keywords and Place Keywords. Think about what words you would use if you were to search for this data.


Identification: Browse Graphic

This section refers to the graphic that goes with your dataset. For most GIS data this section will refer to the shapefile.


Identification: Cross Reference

This section is only used if you want the user to refer to a complementary dataset that goes along with the one you are documenting.


Data Quality:

This section deals with Data Quality. The two most important tabs are the Attribute Accuracy and the Positional Accuracy.



Data Organization:

Appropriate fields in this section will populate upon selecting the CREATE/UPDATE metadata button


Spatial Reference:

Appropriate fields in this section will populate upon selecting the CREATE/UPDATE metadata button, providing your data has an assigned Spatial Reference(.prj file). If your data set does not have a Spatial Reference you will need to Define Projection using ArcToolbox.


Entity Attribute:

Entity and Attribute information will populate automatically upon selecting the CREATE/UPDATE metadata tab. It is important to define your attributes. Only system generated attributes will define automatically.




This section is very important if you plan on distributing your data. This section allows the user to know where to find the data, how to get it or who to contact, and also protects the distributor with a legal liability statement.




Metadata Reference:

This is a very important section to the metadata record, but is also the easiest to fill out. This section is all about you or you organization. Fill out your information so if any user has questions about the metadata they can contact you for answers.