ESRI Metadata Translator (Conversion)


Uses the ArcGIS metadata translation engine or an XSLT transformation to export metadata content from ArcGIS to a stand-alone metadata XML file. The exported metadata will be formatted to satisfy the metadata standard associated with the specified translation.

Metadata for items in ArcGIS is stored in the ArcGIS metadata format. Use the ArcGIS to translations to export ArcGIS metadata to another metadata XML format. For example, do this to share information outside of ArcGIS by publishing it to a metadata catalog. Different metadata catalogs accept information in different XML formats. ArcGIS metadata can be exported to different formats if you must publish your information to metadata catalogs with different requirements.

When using a to ISO 19139 translation, the exported metadata will be formatted following the rules defined in ISO standard 19139, Geographic information — Metadata — XML schema implementation, and its associated XML Schemas. The same translation is used to export metadata according to an ISO metadata profile. The translation accounts for the metadata style selected in ArcGIS. For example, when the selected metadata style is North American Profile of ISO 19115:2003 – Geographic information – Metadata the output file will be formatted appropriately for that ISO metadata profile.

When using the ArcGIS to FGDC translation, the exported metadata will be formatted following the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM) XML format. The resulting file can be published to, for example.

FGDC to translations handle information in the item's metadata which is formatted according to the FGDC CSDGM XML format. This content appears under the FGDC Metadata (read-only) heading in the Description tab when you are using a metadata style that gives you full access to the item's metadata. This content may have been provided with the current release of ArcGIS Desktop using the FGDC metadata editor add-in or using the FGDC metadata editor provided with ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1 or earlier releases.

The to ArcGIS translations convert other metadata XML formats to the ArcGIS metadata format. This is an important step in the process of importing metadata that exists in another format to an ArcGIS item; however, several additional steps are also required to achieve the best results. Use the Import Metadata tool with the appropriate translation to complete this task instead.



ESRITranslator_conversion (source, translator, {output}, {logfile})
ParameterExplanationData Type

The item whose metadata will be converted or a stand-alone XML file that will be converted.

Data Element; Layer

An XML file that defines the conversion that will be performed.

The translator files provided with ArcGIS Desktop can be found in the <ArcGIS Installation Location>\Metadata\Translator folder. The following conversions are supported:

  • ArcGIS to FGDC (ARCGIS2FGDC.xml)
  • ArcGIS to ISO 19139 (ARCGIS2ISO19139.xml)
  • FGDC to ArcGIS (FGDC2ESRI_ISO.xml)
  • FGDC to ISO 19139 (FGDC2ISO19139.xml)
  • ISO 19139 to ArcGIS (ISO19139_2ESRI_ISO.xml)
  • ArcGIS or ESRI-ISO to ISO 19139 (ESRI_ISO2ISO19139.xml)

A translator file must be specified. This tool does not have a default value for this parameter.


A stand-alone XML file that will be created containing the converted metadata.

To check for problems in the metadata using the ESRI Metadata Translator's translation engine and not produce an output XML file, provide the pound sign (#) instead of a file name.


A text file that will be created listing the warnings and errors that occurred during the conversion process.

To export metadata without producing a log file, provide the pound sign (#) instead of a file name.

A log file will not be created when using the ArcGIS to FGDC translation even if a log file name is provided.


Code Sample

Export ArcGIS metadata

Exports ArcGIS metadata to an XML file that is formatted correctly for the ISO 19139 metadata standard.

import arcpy
from arcpy import env
env.workspace = "C:/data"
#set local variables
dir = arcpy.GetInstallInfo("desktop")["InstallDir"]
translator = dir + "Metadata/Translator/ESRI_ISO2ISO19139.xml"
arcpy.ESRITranslator_conversion ("locations.shp", translator, 
    "locations_19139.xml", "locations_19139.txt")


Related Topics

Licensing Information

ArcView: Yes
ArcEditor: Yes
ArcInfo: Yes