USDA Forest Service

Forest Service Metadata Users Guide

FS Metadata
User Guide
Policy & Guidelines
Purpose and Scope
How to use this Guide
Step 1
Gathering Metadata
Step 2
Step 3
Creating FGDC Metadata
Step 4
Step 6
Maintaining Metadata
Feature Level Metadata
Contact Information
Glossary & Terms
Other Resources

USDA Forest Service -
Geospatial Advisory Committee
Last Modified:  3/31/05


Clearinghouses and Internet Map Servers

Discussion Areas

Guides and Guidelines




Clearinghouses and Internet Map Servers

AGRC - Automated Geographic Reference Center (Clearinghouse) - State of Utah, Division of Information Technolgy Services

FGDC Clearinghouse - Federal Geographic Data Committee clearinghouse

FSGEODATA - Forest Service FGDC Clearinghouse node

Setting up a clearinghouse - FGDC site for suggestions and tips on setting up a clearinghouse

SW Data - Southwest Data Center Clearinghouse

Wisonsin Land Information Clearinghouse

NBII Clearinghouse - National Biological Information Infrastructure clearinghouse

NBII  instructions - NBII Instructions for establishing a clearinghouse

Discussion Areas

DOI discussion area - US Department of Interior discussion lists

Guides and Guidelines

National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) Metadata Primer - A how to guide for metadata.

FGDC Metadata Tutorials - A handy jumping off point for metadata tutorials and help from the FGDC

FGDC Metadata Workbook - The FGDC Metadata Workbook, Version 2.0 is in electronic form (Adobe PDF - bookmarked enabled). The workbook is free of charge and is easily down-loadable (size 130 pages, 1Mb). The workbook complies with the latest version of the FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM), FGDC-STD-001-1998 and contends both textual and color graphical information about the FGDC CSDGM including background information, how to read and use the Standard, a color graphical and textual representation of the content information of the Standard, a description of Profiles and User Defined Metadata Extensions, and some metadata examples. Please feel free to download the workbook and distribute it among your organization.

USGS - Metadata in plain language - A helpful site from the USGS which explains metadata in a similar manner as this site.

Geoplace/Schweitzer - Putting Metadata In Plain Language - Site for geospatial information and help throughout the world, includes section on metadata.

NSDI Publication - NSDI 2 page document: Answers ‘Why’ we need to do this and provides good ‘layman’ definitions of general metadata categories.


Published Metadata Example - An on-line example of FGDC metadata from Dane County displaying metadata for their contour layer.

Web-based FGDC Metadata Entry System - This interface is meant to supplement the storage and service of more complete FGDC metadata records collected for data documentation using other metadata tools. Collection of basic metadata using this service provides an introduction to FGDC metadata but may not provide adequate long-term documentation of spatial data sets.

BLM - US Bureau of Land Management with links to many metadata subjects

FGDC Framework - GIS applications of many different disciplines have a recurring need for a few themes of data. The framework is a collaborative community based effort in which these commonly needed data themes are developed, maintained, and integrated by public and private organizations within a geographic area. Local, regional, state and federal government organizations and private companies see the framework as a way to share resources, improve communications, and increase efficiency.


FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata - 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.

FGDC Content Standard Workbook - see FGDC Metadata Workbook

Executive Order 12906 - April 13th, 1994 US executive order

Dublin Standard




FGDC Tool List

metalite (aml)

Metadata Tools for Geospatial Data

pc metalite

United Nations Caribbean Environment Program  


USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.