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 GIS metadata standards

GIS metadata that follows the standard (specifically, the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata, or CSDGM) set by the Federal Geographic Data Committee is commonly known as FGDC metadata. FGDC metadata format is complex because it was designed to describe all possible instances of geospatial data. For complete information on the FGDC standard, see the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata Workbook, Version 2.0 (PDF file). The workbook contains complete descriptions of metadata fields as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

The International Standards Organization (ISO) has published an international standard for Geographic metadata (ISO 19115:2003), that defines the schema required for describing geographic information and services. Currently there are several international organizations whose aim is to harmonize the FGDC and ISO metadata standards. For current information on harmonization activities, please visit http://www.fgdc.gov/metadata/fgdc-iso-activities/.