Metadata is information about your data. It provides answers to common questions, such as:
- Who created this data?
- When was it published?
- What do these attributes mean?
- How was this data developed?
- How accurate is it?
- What projection is this data in?
Complete, detailed metadata is a key component to any complete geospatial dataset. Not only does it provide the story of the data to users, but it also provides the data originator with a detailed record of how a dataset came into being. Good metadata provides users with information to understand and use data, increases the “shelf life” of a dataset, and eliminates (or reduces) questions about data allowing it to be utilized to its fullest extent.
Writing metadata can be a daunting task for many. RIGIS, in conjunction with the University of Rhode Island Environmental Data Center, has developed a metadata standard for all RIGIS data contributors. This standard provides the minimum requirements for the creation of FGDC-compliant metadata using Esri’s ArcCatalog software, and can be used by any GIS user looking for a guide to write metadata. The guide is broken down into the three main ArcCatalog Metadata sections:
Following the formatting used in the online FGDC metadata structure , this guide makes clear which fields are required using the following schema:
Mandatory – information must be included within the metadata record.
Mandatory if Applicable – information must be included within the metadata record if it applies to the dataset in question.
Optional – information can be included at the dataset originator / metadata author’s discretion.
Users should use this guide to write metadata in ArcCatalog, however be aware this is only the minimum information that RIGIS requires for data submissions. Your organization may require additional information to be added! Use the list of resources below to get started! We have provided the RIGIS metadata guide, and a few important How-To documents that will get you started using ArcCatalog to write FGDC-compliant metadata.