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Introduction to Geospatial Metadata – ISO 191** Metadata

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Introduction to Geospatial Metadata – ISO 191** Metadata

National Coastal Data Development Center

A division of the

National Oceanographic Data Center

Please email a list of participants at each location to

Also Email questions for the Q&A session to

ISO Resources

Series Materials

NOAA EDM Wiki ( ) _Page


  • Why ISO Metadata

  • What is ISO Metadata

  • General Overview of ISO Content and Organization

Why ISO Metadata?

Executive Order 12906

  • Established the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) to support public and private sector applications of geospatial data 

  • Established an electronic National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse for the NSDI to address data standardization, make geospatial data publicly available, and address redundancy and incompatibility of geospatial information

OMB Circular A-16

  • Provides guidance for federal agencies that create, maintain or use spatial data directly or indirectly through the establishment of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)

  • Establishes guidelines for the management of digital spatial data and the use of those assets. It also appoints the FGDC to the interagency coordinating body for NSDI-related activities

FGDC Endorsed Standards

What is ISO Metadata?

ISO Geospatial Metadata

  • ISO – International Organization for Standardization

  • Use the 191** series

    • ISO 19115:2003/Cor 1:2006 Geographic information -- Metadata

    • ISO 19115-2:2009 Geographic information -- Metadata -- Part 2: Extensions for imagery and gridded data

    • ISO/TS 19139:2007 Geographic information -- Metadata -- XML schema implementation  

    • ISO 19110:2005/Amd 1:2011 Geographic information -- Methodology for feature cataloguing

    • ISO 19119:2005/Amd 1:2008 Geographic information -- Services Extensions of the service metadata model

Understanding ISO Standards


XML schema implementation











ISO 19115 → Core Information

ISO 19115-2 → Extensions for Instrumentation and Gridded Data

ISO 19110 → Entities and Attributes

ISO 19119 → Services

ISO 19157 → Data Quality

Is flexible

Depicts relationships between datasets and collection level (parent/child relationships)

Standardizes descriptors through the use of codelists

Accommodates new technologies (such as documenting services)

Accommodates International scope

Undergoes revision/review in 5 year cycles

ISO Metadata

ISO 19115:2003(E)

ISO Content

Metadata written using ISO still answers these important questions:


were the data collected?

were the data processed?

are the data located?


were the data collected?

were the data processed?


are the data about?

project were they collected under?

are the constraints on their use?

is the quality?

are appropriate uses?

parameters were measured?

format are the data in?


were the data collected?

were the data processed?

do I access the data?

do I order the data?

much do the data cost?

was the quality assessed?


were the data collected?


collected the data?

processed the data?

wrote the metadata?

to contact for questions?

to contact to order?

owns the data?

Organization and Content of ISO

  • ISO is organized in Sections and Packages

    • Section: Groupings of similar information

    • Package: Logical groupings of elements found in multiple locations within Sections

Guide to Implementing ISO Metadata


Workbook of ISO 19115

  • parallels the standard

  • provides FAQs

  • implementation guide

Using the Workbook

  • is a resource for applying the ISO

  • metadata standard

  • provides names and definitions

  • describes domain values (valid values that can be assigned to the data element)

  • uses a Graphical Representation of the Production Rules

Using the Workbook

Tag: XML tag

Definition: definition of the tag

Type: type or package

Domain: format of the content

Multiplicity: if something is repeatable and if it is required

Attributes: XML attributes

Best Practices: recommended implementation

fileIdentifier – A unique phrase or string that uniquely identifies the metadata file.

Type: gco:characterString

Domain: free text

Multiplicity: optional *this is NAP requirement*

Attributes: nilReason

Best Practices: Each metadata record shall have a universal unique identifier (UUID) to distinguish it from others.

Using the Graphics

What is ISO Metadata?

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