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Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata

Federal Geographic Data Committee

     Federal Geographic Data Committee

    Department of Agriculture ; Department of Commerce ; Department of Defense ; Department of Energy

    Department of Housing and Urban Development ; Department of the Interior ; Department of State

    Department of Transportation ; Environmental Protection Agency

     Federal Emergency Management Agency ; Library of Congress

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration ; National Archives and Records Administration

    Tennessee Valley Authority

Federal Geographic Data Committee

    Established by Office of Management and Budget Circular A-16, the Federal Geographic Data Committee

    (FGDC) promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geographic data.

    The FGDC is composed of representatives from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense,

    Energy, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, State, and Transportation; the Environmental

    Protection Agency; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the Library of Congress; the National

    Aeronautics and Space Administration; the National Archives and Records Administration; and the

    Tennessee Valley Authority. Additional Federal agencies participate on FGDC subcommittees and

    working groups. The Department of the Interior chairs the committee.

    FGDC subcommittees work on issues related to data categories coordinated under the circular.

    Subcommittees establish and implement standards for data content, quality, and transfer; encourage the

    exchange of information and the transfer of data; and organize the collection of geographic data to reduce

    duplication of effort. Working groups are established for issues that transcend data categories.

    For more information about the committee, or to be added to the committee's newsletter mailing list, please


     Federal Geographic Data Committee Secretariat

     c/o U.S. Geological Survey

     590 National Center

     Reston, Virginia 20192

     Telephone: (703) 648-5514

     Facsimile: (703) 648-5755

     Internet (electronic mail): gdc@usgs.gov

     Anonymous FTP: fgdc.er.usgs.gov

     WWW Home Page: http://www.fgdc.gov

    The following is the recommended bibliographic citation for this publication: Federal Geographic Data Committee. FGDC-STD-001-1998. Content standard for digital geospatial

    metadata (revised June 1998). Federal Geographic Data Committee. Washington, D.C.


    Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .iv

    Organization of the Standard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii

    Metadata . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

    Identification Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

    Data Quality Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

    Spatial Data Organization Information. . . . . . . . . . .16

    Spatial Reference Information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

    Entity and Attribute Information . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

    Distribution Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

    Metadata Reference Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50

    Citation Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53

    Time Period Information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56

    Contact Information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58

Appendix A

     Glossary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61

Appendix B

     Alphabetical List of Compound Elements and Data Elements68

Appendix C

     References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72

Appendix D

     Guidelines for Creating Extended Elements in the Content Standard for Digital

    Geospatial Metadata74

Appendix E

     Guidelines for Creating a Profile for the Content Standard for Digital

    Geospatial Metadata77


    1. Objectives. The objectives of the standard are to provide a common set of terminology and definitions

    for the documentation of digital geospatial data. The standard establishes the names of data elements and

    compound elements (groups of data elements) to be used for these purposes, the definitions of these

    compound elements and data elements, and information about the values that are to be provided for the

    data elements.

The major uses of metadata are:

     to maintain an organization's internal investment in geospatial data,

     to provide information about an organization's data holdings to data catalogues, clearinghouses, and

     brokerages, and

     to provide information needed to process and interpret data to be received through a transfer from an

     external source.

    The information included in the standard was selected based on four roles that metadata play:

     availability -- data needed to determine the sets of data that exist for a geographic location.

     fitness for use -- data needed to determine if a set of data meets a specific need.

     access -- data needed to acquire an identified set of data.

     transfer -- data needed to process and use a set of data.

    These roles form a continuum in which a user cascades through a pyramid of choices to determine what

    data are available, to evaluate the fitness of the data for use, to access the data, and to transfer and process

    the data. The exact order in which data elements are evaluated, and the relative importance of data

    elements, will not be the same for all users.

2. Scope.

    This standard is intended to support the collection and processing of geospatial metadata. It is intended to

    be useable by all levels of government and the private sector. The standard is not

intended to reflect an

    implementation design. An implementation design requires adapting the structure and form of the standard

    to meet application requirements.

    The standard was developed from the perspective of defining the information required by a prospective

    user to determine the availability of a set of geospatial data; to determine the fitness and the set of

    geospatial data for an intended use; to determine the means of accessing the set of geospatial data; and to

    successfully transfer the set of geospatial data. As such, the standard establishes the names of data

    elements and compound elements to be used for these purposes, definitions of these data elements and

    compound elements, and information about the values that are to be provided for the data elements. The

    standard does not specify the means by which this information is organized in a computer system or in a

    data transfer, nor the means by which this information is transmitted, communicated, or presented to the


3. Applicability

    This standard is for the documentation of geospatial data. Executive Order 12906, "Coordinating

    Geographic Data Acquisition and Access: The National Spatial Data Infrastructure," was signed on April

    11, 1994, by President William J. Clinton. Section 3, Development of a National Geospatial Data

    Clearinghouse, paragraph (b) states: "Standardized Documentation of Data. Beginning nine months from

    the date of this order, each agency shall document all new geospatial data it collects or produces, either

    directly or indirectly, using the standard under development by the FGDC, and make that standardized

    documentation electronically accessible to the Clearinghouse network. Within one year of the date of this

    order, agencies shall adopt a schedule, developed in consultation with the FGDC, for documenting, to the

    extent practicable, geospatial data previously collected or produced, either directly or indirectly, and

    making that data documentation electronically accessible to the Clearinghouse network." This standard is

    the data documentation standard referenced in the executive order.

    The FGDC invites and encourages organizations and persons from State, local, and tribal governments, the

    private sector, and non-profit organizations to use the standard to document their geospatial data. A major

    difficulty in the geospatial data community is the lack of information that helps prospective users to

    determine what data exist, the fitness of existing data for planned applications, and the conditions for

    accessing existing data, and to transfer data to a user's system. This standard, developed with aid of broad

    public participation, will help to ease these problems and to develop the National Spatial Data


4. Related Standards

    The Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) was developed to allow the transfer of digital spatial data sets

    between spatial data software. The Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata was developed to

    identify and define the metadata elements used to document digital geospatial data sets for many purposes.

    These include metadata to: 1) preserve the meaning and value of a data set; 2) contribute to a catalog or

    clearinghouse and; 3) aid in data transfer. Since the SDTS is a standard for data transfer, its primary

    metadata content is used to determine the fitness of the data set for the user's purpose. There is a close

    relationship between the Metadata Standard and the SDTS metadata elements contained in the Data Quality

    module, and in other locations inside of the SDTS transfer set. Since the Metadata Standard contains

    metadata used to search for digital spatial data sets through a clearinghouse (metadata for locating,

    describing access, use, and distribution), these elements may not be contained in the SDTS transfer set.

    The Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata uses to the maximum extent possible, existing

    International or National Standards, as documented in Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119

    "Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity

    assessment Activities." American National Standards referenced in the Content Standard for Digital

    Geospatial Metadata include the American National Standards Institute, 1975, Representations of universal

    time, local time differentials, and United States time zone reference for information interchange (ANSI

    X3.51-1975): New York, American National Standards Institute; American National Standards Institute,

    1986, Representation for calendar date and ordinal date for information interchange (ANSI X3.30-1985):

    New York, American National Standards Institute; American National Standards Institute, 1986,

    Representations of local time of day for information interchange (ANSI X3.43-1986): New York,

    American National Standards Institute.

    The June 8, 1994 FGDC Metadata Standard was used as the base document for International Organization

    for Standardization (ISO) 15046 Part 15. The draft ISO Metadata Standard 15046 Part 15 has had a

    number of changes made to it. At this time this revision was prepared, the ISO Metadata Standard was still

    in Committee Draft form and subject to significant change before final approval, therefore, is not identical

    to the current ISO draft but is thought to be consistent with it.

5. Standards Development Process

    The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) initiated work on the first version of the standard in

    June, 1992, through a forum on geospatial metadata. At the forum, the participants agreed on the need for

    a standard on the information content of metadata about geospatial data. The committee accepted the offer

    of ASTM Section D18.01.05 to develop a draft information content standard. The draft was slightly

    revised, and offered for public review from October 1992 to April 1993. Extensive comments were

    received from the public. The FGDC Standards Working Group revised the draft. The revised draft was

    provided for further review and testing in July 1993. Refined drafts were offered for review and testing in

    January and March 1994. The first version was approved June 8, 1994.

    Since the FGDC Metadata Standard was adopted, it has been implemented by numerous

Federal, state, and

    local agencies, companies, and groups. It has also been used by other nations as they develop their own

    national metadata standards. Proposed changes to the Metadata Standard have been suggested during the

    time since it was issued. Further, an implementor's workshop was held specifically to discuss strengths,

    weaknesses, and proposed improvements. Drawing on this body of knowledge, the FGDC proposed to

    modify the current Metadata Standard.

    The June 1998 version is fully backward compatible with and supersedes the June 8, 1994 version. The

    June 1998 version provides for the definition of Profiles (Appendix E) and extensibility through User

    Defined Metadata Extensions (Appendix D). The June 1998 version also modifies some production rules

    to ease implementation.

    6. Maintenance Authority. The current maintenance authority for the standard is the FGDC Secretariat.

    The Federal Geographic Data Committee is the approving authority for the standard. Questions concerning

    the standard are to be addressed to the FGDC Secretariat, in care of the U.S. Geological Survey, 590

    National Center, Reston, Virginia 20192. Copies of this publication are available from the Federal

    Geographic Data Committee. Secretariat, in care of the U.S. Geological Survey, 590 National Center,

    Reston, Virginia 20192; telephone (703) 648-5514; facsimile (703) 648-5755; Internet (electronic mail)

    gdc@usgs.gov. The text also is available from anonymous File Transfer Protocol (anonymous ftp) server

    fgdc.er.usgs.gov and at the FGDC web site http://www.fgdc.gov/metadata.

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