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USGS - science for a changing world

Core Science Analytics, Synthesis, and Libraries - Metadata Program

Metadata Standards

Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Standards

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is an interagency committee that promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis. FGDC activities are administered through the FGDC Secretariat, hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey. The FGDC is responsible for the development of the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata, the standard USGS scientists use to document datasets.

FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM)

Profiles and Extensions to the FGDC Standard

The FGDC has endorsed profiles and extensions to the CSDGM that add elements to the standard based on the needs of particular communities to adequately describe their data. The following the endorsed profiles and extensions:

FGDC Endorsed Extensions to the CSDGM Version 2 (FGDC-STD-001-1998):

  • Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata: Extensions for Remote Sensing Metadata - Extended elements to support the documentation of geospatial data directly obtained from remote sensing. This extension includes elements that describe the remote sensing platform and sensors. This extension is intended for the documentation of data collected directly from the sensor. It is not intended for the documentation of data derived from remotely sensed data such as classified imagery. The core CSDGM standard should be used to document derived data.

FGDC Endorsed Profiles of the CSDGM Version 2 (FGDC-STD-001-1998):

  • Biological Data Profile of the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata - The profile broadens the application of the CSDGM so that it is more easily applied to data that are not explicitly geographic (laboratory results, field notes, specimen collections, research reports) but can be associated with a geographic location. The profile changes the conditionality and domains of CSDGM elements, requires the use of a specified taxonomical vocabulary, and adds elements.
  • Biological Data Profile - a Graphical Representation - The FGDC Standard with the Biological Data Profile elements included in a graphical representation makes it easy to understand where the elements fall in the FGDC standard, and which are mandatory, mandatory if applicable, and optional.
  • Metadata Profile for Shoreline Data - The profile addresses variability in the definition and mapping of shorelines by providing a standardized set of terms and data elements required to support metadata for shoreline and coastal data sets. The profile also includes a glossary and bibliography.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standards

There is a transition occurring from FGDC CSDGM to the ISO suite of standards. In the near future, the ISO 19115 and its accompanying standards will replace the FGDC CSDGM as the official metadata standard for Federal agencies.

For more information about the ISO standards and transitioning to the ISO Standard, visit the following:

FGDC Geospatial Metadata Standards

NOAA National Geophysical Data Center ISO Metadata Standard Information

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