- ARC CATALOG TO VIEW AND CREATE METADATA
Metadata tools help you document
your data. A number of tools are available
to create FGDC (Federal Geographic Data Committee) compliant metadata. The
Forest Service has migrated to the ArcGIS environment. ArcCatalog
is an organizational tool within ArcGIS that helps the user view, manage,
and document data. All units are strongly encouraged
to use ArcCatalog for creating metadata, not only for standardization, but
because it has many features to aid in metadata creation.
ARC Catalog fully integrates with
the ArcGIS environment allowing you to view metadata
along with the data. ArcCatalog has a number of features
to assist you in creating metadata including:
- ability to automatically gather
information from your dataset
- ability to import existing metadata,
- a robust FGDC metadata editor.
- ability to copy and paste from other documents
The metadata you produce travels with
the dataset when you copy, move, or export it using
ArcCatalog. When someone imports data, the
metadata will be visible in ArcCatalog. Metadata
can also be exported to a number of styles and formats
for web publication using ArcCatalog.
This guide will discuss:
ArcCatalog provides a view into your computer file system.
You can see the file structure, previews of geography and tables,
and metadata records. To view the metadata, click
on the data set you would like to view and select the tab on
the right that says ‘metadata’.
You can view metadata using one of the
several FGDC or ISO (International Organization for Standard)
style sheets. Most user should choose one of the FGDC
style sheets. Otherwise, you will not be able to see
the full FGDC metadata record . Use ISO style sheets. when
viewing international dataset's. The raw XML format
is also available and is useful for viewing FGDC and
ISO information at the same time. The example below uses
the FGDC ESRI style sheet. Style sheets. use hyperlinks,
expandable headings, and/or tabs for navigation depending
on which style sheet you chose. Look in help under "Exploring
an item's metadata" for more details.
Automatic Metadata Creation
If metadata has not already been created,
ArcCatalog automatically creates a metadata record and fills
in what it can gather from your dataset such as information
about the coordinate system, bounding coordinates, features,
and attributes*. Information automatically gathered
by ArcCatalog is limited. You will have to provide
the rest by using the FGDC metadata editor.
Throughout ArcGIS, you will find that
it is essential to define projection and datum. This
particularly true for creating metadata because ArcCatalog
cannot automatically document projection and datum unless
they have been defined. See "Defining
a coverage's coordinate system" and "Defining
a shapefile's coordinate system" in help.
* ArcCatalog automatically
gathers information about your data set if the option to
do so has been checked under TOOLS|OPTIONS menu. Otherwise
click the create/update button
You can also import a existing metadata
record or template that
contains information appropriate to the dataset you want
to document. Using a metadata template is strongly
recommended because it enables you to display information
consistently and reduce workload. See "Importing
exporting metadata" in help. IMPORTANT:
Importing a file will write over the previous metadata record. See Import
FGDC metadata editor
Finally, you will use the FGDC metadata
editor to add and update information that cannot be supplied
by either automate metadata creation or importing existing
metadata record. The next section discusses how to
use the FGDC metadata editor.
Before starting the editor, locate the dataset to edit in
the catalog tree and click the metadata tab. Then click
the Edit button as shown
below to start the editor.
the top of the Metadata Editor window are the seven tabs
representing broad FGDC metadata sections: Identification,
Data Quality, Data Organization, Spatial Reference, Entity
Attribute, Distribution, and Metadata Reference. As
a metadata section is selected, its name is bolded.
a section tab is selected, several tabs appear in the row
immediately below and represent groups of metadata elements
that go with the selected section. In the Figure
above, the Identification section has been selected. Some
of the tabbed data entry areas contain additional “sub-tabs”,
sub-menu forms, drop downs, or buttons, which open additional
metadata “sub-windows” (i.e., for entry of “one-to-many” metadata
elements). In other words, various nested hierarchies
of metadata entry fields will present themselves. In
the Figure above data entry fields for elements under the “General” tab
of the “Identification” section are displayed.
3. Begin entering
your metadata into the fields under the appropriate sections
What to enter?
At first glance, the sheer
number of fields available for data entry may seem a bit
overwhelming. Fortunately, the editor highlights FGDC required
fields in red. It also helps to focus on the main
purposes for creating metadata which are to enable a user
to understand what the data represent, evaluate the applicability
of the data for their own needs, understand how to use
the data, and learn how to acquire the data. Additionally,
information to help you understand 'what goes where' in
the editor is provided by the ArcCatalog help system and
by the FGDC Metadata Workbook and other metadata guides. See FGDC
metadata editor help below.
Two schools of thought exist
on how much metadata to enter. One school says to
do a thorough job now, because you won't get back to it
later. The other school says that if you try to create
perfect metadata, the job is too big a job. You won't do
it at all. The answer, of course, is to do what you
can within time and budget to create FGDC compliant metadata,
but do not fail to document critical information that is
easily lost or forgotten as time passes. Remember
that field crews go back to school, experts retire, and
our memories fail. Don't put it off. And do
not fail to provide critical information necessary to help
the user understand, evaluate, acquire, and use a dataset.
If you intend make data by
publishing the metadata on a website, it is essential to
provide the location by filling out the 'Online Linkage'
field under 'IDENTIFICATION', 'Citation', 'details'. For
publishing metadata on the Forest Service FGDC clearinghouse,
certain fields must be also completed. See discussion about
'FGDC Theme Keyword' and 'FGDC Resource Description' in Step
4 - Publishing Metadata See also Exporting
and Publishing Metadata below.
with automatic entry of spatial information
All you spatial information
should be captured for you. If, however, no data exists
in the spatial information fields (bounding coordinates,
etc), you may need to exit and check your coverage for
projection files. On occasion, there have been 0’s
in the bounding coordinate fields. If this is the case,
go back into the editor, open the tab, and delete the 0’s,
leaving the x and y coordinates blank. Exit the editor,
and hit the update
information button . Go
back into the editor, and the fields should be correct
if you have projection information. You can enter and exit
the editor and it will not change your file (unless you
change the raw data). You can leave the editor, and look
at the results of your work under the metadata tab.
The following subjects are accessible
through the ArcCatalog help system:
1. Search help in
ArcCatalog under "FGDC Metadata Editor" - for
an overview of the FGDC metadata editor, a discussion of
FGDC metadata sections and elements, and description how
to get help while using the editor.
2. While in the Editor,
clicking help brings up "Using the
FGDC metadata editor to document your data" which
discusses the meaning of each field in the editor. Also
while in the editor, you can click the "?" in
the upper right corner then click in the editor for context
help under "Editing Metadata" brings
up a discussion of FGDC versus ISO standards and how to pick
either the FGDC metadata editor or the ISO wizard. under
TOOLS|OPTIONS. The FGDC editor is the default and you won't
need to change this option unless you are working with international.
The FGDC metadata workbook explains
what data goes where and what the elements mean. The
workbook is available at the Federal Geographic Data Committee
web site. http://www.fgdc.gov/publications/documents/metadata/workbook_0501_bmk.pdf
Martischang and Steven
Bown have written comprehensive metadata guides which
will provide additional insight in understanding and using
metadata. Click on their names to download the MS
Word formatted documents.
Completing the edit session
When you have completed your edits, simply
save and the editor will close. Click the Create/Update
button to update your metadata record after editing.
If the dataset is a coverage, the file
is stored as 'metadata.xml' within the coverage
folder. If the dataset is a shapefile, the metadata file
is stored with the same name as the dataset but with the
xml extension within the same folder. If the dataset
is a personal geodatabase, the metadata is stored in a metadata
table within the geodatabase. The metadata reside with
your dataset and will travel with your dataset automatically
when you copy, move, or export it. When someone imports,
the metadata will be visible in ArcCatalog.
ArcCatalog by default stores your
metadata in XML format. This format is not easy to
view. To improve the look, export your metadata file
into one of the many HTML formats in ArcCatalog and save
it with your coverage or use it for publication on a website.
Experiment with various export
formats to decide which is most appropriate for you needs. See "Importing
exporting metadata" in help.
FGDC CSDGM (HTML) is the standard
FGDC look with hyperlinks for navigation. FGDC CSDGM
(FAQ) uses hyperlink attached to common 'who', 'what', 'where',
'when', 'why', and 'how' questions about the data.
The metadata you create in ArcCatalog
will be the foundation for web publication. The Geospatial
Service and Technology Center (GSTC) is in the process of
Service FGDC metadata clearinghouse that will have specific
metadata requirements for publication.
Standardized metadata templates enable you to display
information consistently and reduce workload. The template
metadata record contains information that applies to more
than one dataset such as contact name and address, distribution
policy, liability statement, metadata contact information,
perhaps location keywords. A general template for an FS
unit will contain information that is the same for most
data sets. More specific templates, may also provide standard
information representing multiple dataset's for a particular
theme such as soils or vegetation. The extent of the repeating
information will depend on your situation.
Creating metadata templates is usually
responsibility of unit data managers and data stewards. National
Data Stewards will be creating standardized metadata templates
for GIS Data Dictionary compliant dataset's. As these become
available, they should be used as the starting point for
creating metadata templates for your unit. Instead having
one template, you may have several. See Import
1. Create and save an empty metadata template file
an ascii text editor such as TextPad or Notepad.
the following two lines to the text file:
the text file with a .xml extension (e.g., “metadata_template.xml”) at
a location on the server where any potential metadata
author in the cell can access it.
2. Start and navigate ArcCatalog to where the metadata_template.xml
file has been stored.
begin populating the “metadata_template.xml” file
with those metadata elements that will be the same for
all (or the majority of) the data sets for which you’ll
define metadata (i.e., your “corporate”,
data dictionary coverages), start ArcCatalog and
navigate to the “metadata_template.xml” file
created in Step 1.
need to connect to the folder before you can see the
file. See "Adding Folder
Connections" in help.
the metadata_template.xml file to ArcCatalog.
- In the navigation tree on the left side of the ArcCatalog
window, navigate to the subdirectory where metadata_template.xml
is stored, select the metadata_template.xml file and…
- Click on the “Metadata” tab in the right
side of the ArcCatalog window.
- All that ArcCatalog will display in your metadata_template.xml
file is the line “Metadata:”
3. Start the FGDC metadata editor and begin entering “default” text
to your metadata_template.xml file.
once on the “Edit metadata” button and the
FGDC “Metadata Editor” window opens.
The metadata editor will open and you
will have several tabs of data to view and fill out. Select
the appropriate elements and enter information that should
be displayed consistently, such as contact information
and liability statement. As you create metadata you might
discover more to add to the template. You can leave the
metadata editor and go back in whenever you like. The
following examples show you where to look in the editor
to fill-in contact and liability information.
Fill in the items you want to standardize
and leave all other items blank!
a file will write over the previous metadata record. See Import
Select the file you want to document
in the Catalog Tree
click the metadata tab
click the import button.
Browse to the template
Click edit and finish documenting your
Note: Importing a metadata file will
write over the previous metadata record. The order
of operations is important. For example, any
information automatically pulled from the dataset (ex.
entity attribute information) and any information you have
entered directly into the FGDC metadata editor will be
overwritten. No automated method is currently
available to preserve locally important or dataset specific
information when importing metadata from generalized templates.
Use generalized templates as a starting
point for creating local and dataset specific templates.
If local templates or dataset
specific metadata already exist, use copy and paste while
in the FGDC metadata editor rather than import to incorporate
Create a theme or layer specific templates
by exporting the XML files from your local corporate
data. Copy and paste information from standardized
template (ex. GIS data dictionary layer templates) into
this local XML file using the FGDC metadata editor. Importing
the metadata from this template will ensure that theme
specific and locally important information are preserved.
A full discussion of Feature Level Metadata
is now located here.