Los Alamos National Laboratory  

GISLab Data Policy
About GISLab
GIS Services
Spatial Data Warehouse
Guides & Stds
Team Page
What's New

GISLab Metadata Requirements

GISLab requires metadata for all spatial data submitted in the spatial data warehouse. See GISLab Metadata Standard for guidance on and requirements for metadata preparation. For more information see the FGDC Workbook on Creating Metadata. For examples of GISLab metadata files see the 2000 Orthophoto page in the Data Catalog.

What are Metadata?

Metadata are the descriptive information pertaining to geospatial data, and are based on a common set of terms and definitions. Metadata provide information about the content, quality, condition, and other characteristics of data. An example of metadata is a map legend, which contains information about the map's publisher, publication date, the type of map, its spatial references, scale and accuracy, etc. Metadata help users to find the right geospatial data and determine the suitability for their particular use. This helps avoid problems resulting from data that is unclear, incomplete, or unusable due to insufficient documentation of origin. As personnel change in an organization, undocumented data may lose their value. Metadata are an important way to provide this documentation.

The initial expense of properly documenting data with complete metadata clearly outweighs the potential costs of having to recreate the data, assuming that is even possible. Lack of knowledge about other organizations' data can also lead to wasteful duplication of effort, avoided by having sufficient metadata. The benefits of metadata are such that most digital geospatial files now have some associated metadata; GISLab requires it.

FGDC Metadata Standard

Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) compliant metadata are required for all government agencies. The FGDC metadata standard provides a systematic way to record metadata, and includes the following:

  • Identification - basic information about the data set.
  • Data Quality - an assessment of the quality of the data set.
  • Spatial Data Organization - the mechanism used to represent spatial information in the data set.
  • Spatial References - the reference frame and means of encoding coordinates in the data set.
  • Entity and Attributes - content of the data set, including the entity types and their
    attributes and the domains from which attribute values may be assigned.
  • Distribution - how to obtain the data set.
  • Metadata References - currentness of the metadata and the responsible party for metadata.
  • Citation - recommended reference to be used when citing the data set.
  • Time Period - information about the date and time of an event associated with the data.
  • Contact Info- To whom and how to communicate with those associated with the data set.

Other Sources of Information

General Information on Metadata

Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata


Contact Us | Webmaster | EES-9 | EES Division | SR |
  Lanl logo  

Operated by the University of California for the National Nuclear Security Administration, of the US Department of Energy. | Copyright © 2003 UC | Disclaimer/Privacy |

Last Revised:  17-Nov-2003

spacer spacer spacer spacer