Creating and managing FGDC metadata
The Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Spatial Metadata (CSDGM) is a well-known metadata standard that has been used in North America and around the world for many years. This type of metadata was created by default with ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1.
With ArcGIS Desktop 10.0, the metadata editor was redesigned to accommodate creating content for multiple metadata standards. Although the metadata editing experience is different than in ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1, you can continue to create, view, edit, import, export, and publish FGDC metadata. This guide describes these workflows and will help you produce and manage FGDC metadata in the current version of ArcGIS Desktop.
Configure ArcGIS Desktop to create FGDC CSDGM metadata
The first step is to configure ArcGIS Desktop for creating FGDC metadata by choosing the appropriate metadata style in the Options dialog box of any ArcGIS Desktop application.
Open the Options dialog box for your ArcGIS Desktop application.
- In ArcMap, click Customize > ArcMap Options.
- In ArcCatalog, click Customize > ArcCatalog Options.
- In ArcGlobe, click Customize > ArcGlobe Options.
- In ArcScene, click Customize > ArcScene Options.
The Options dialog box appears.
- Click the Metadata tab.
- Click FGDC CSDGM Metadata in the Metadata Style list.
- Click OK. Note:
If you're using the Description tab when you choose a new metadata style, you won't immediately see the results of this change. Click another tab in ArcCatalog or the Item Description window, then click the Description tab again for the new metadata style to take effect.
Viewing an item's complete metadata
When ArcGIS is configured to use the FGDC CSDGM Metadata style, the ArcGIS Metadata heading appears at the bottom of the item's brief description.
Beginning with ArcGIS 10.0, metadata content is stored in a new internal format, known as ArcGIS Metadata. Metadata content created and managed using the Description tab is displayed under the ArcGIS Metadata heading. At first, you won't see much information under the ArcGIS Metadata heading. You will see:
- Any item properties added automatically by ArcGIS
- Any FGDC metadata content that corresponds to the basic item description
- Any attribute descriptions provided using the 9.3.1 FGDC metadata editor; these are shared with ArcGIS Metadata
Any content entered using the ArcGIS 9.3.1 FGDC metadata editor is displayed under the FGDC Metadata (read-only) heading. This includes any content entered using the FGDC Metadata Editor add-in.
Upgrading existing metadata
To manage metadata content that you created using the ArcGIS 9.3.1 FGDC metadata editor in the current version of ArcGIS Desktop, you must first upgrade the item's metadata using the Upgrade Metadata tool. This process copies all existing FGDC content to the appropriate ArcGIS Metadata elements.
When you view an item with existing FGDC-format metadata you will be notified immediately that it must be upgraded to the ArcGIS metadata format before it can be used in the Description tab.
Click Yes to upgrade the existing FGDC metadata content right away. The Upgrade Metadata tool opens and the Upgrade Type is automatically set to FGDC_TO_ARCGIS.
If you would rather wait, click No. An Upgrade button will be available in the Description tab. You can use it later to upgrade the item's metadata. You will not be able to create or manage FGDC metadata content in the Description tab until the item's metadata has been upgraded.
You will see the notification and the Upgrade button when all of the following are true:
- Some of the item's FGDC-format metadata content was typed into a metadata editor—not added automatically by ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1.
- No content was typed into a metadata editor that stored information in the ESRI-ISO metadata format—content added automatically by ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1 in this format is ignored.
- No metadata was typed into the Description tab and saved anywhere except the Item Description page.
If you don't see the notification or the Upgrade button in the Description tab, and the item has FGDC-format metadata that hasn't been upgraded yet, search for the Upgrade Metadata tool, then run it following the steps below. For example, this might occur because of known issues in ArcGIS Desktop 10.0 that were corrected in Service Pack 3. If an item's FGDC-format metadata was upgraded with a previous release of ArcGIS Desktop 10.0, you can upgrade the item's metadata again following the steps below. A second upgrade should be performed only if you have not spent time editing the upgraded metadata in the Description tab—your edits will be discarded by the upgrade process.
Click Geoprocessing > Search For Tools.
The Search window opens.
- Start typing upgrade metadata into the Search text box. All tools that start with the word upgrade appear in a list. Click upgrade metadata (conversion) in the list.
The Upgrade Metadata tool is listed in the search results.
- Click Upgrade Metadata (Conversion) in the search results list to open this tool.
- Drag and drop the item whose metadata must be upgraded onto the Source Metadata parameter in the tool's dialog box.
- In the Upgrade Type list, click FGDC_TO_ARCGIS.
- Click OK.
If you have many items whose metadata must be upgraded, you can upgrade all of their metadata at once by running this tool in batch mode or by writing an appropriate Python script. You can find the Upgrade Metadata tool in the Conversion toolbox in the Metadata toolset.
After upgrading, the old 9.3.1 FGDC metadata content isn't removed, so you'll see the same information under both the ArcGIS Metadata heading and the FGDC Metadata (read-only) heading when you view the item's metadata in the Description tab. However, when you edit your metadata in the Description tab, your changes will only appear under the ArcGIS Metadata heading. The content under the FGDC Metadata (read-only) heading is effectively read-only, except for attribute descriptions.
Editing FGDC metadata content in the Description tab
You can create basic FGDC metadata for an item in the current version of ArcGIS Desktop following the steps below. This information covers the minimum mandatory set of FGDC metadata content.
If you're ever unsure of what information to provide in a metadata element, hover the pointer over its input control. A help string appears at the bottom of the editor explaining what information is expected.
- Click the Edit button in the Description tab.
If the Edit button is not visible, you do not have permission to edit metadata for this item, and you won't be able to complete this task. The shared network location or the item's files may be read-only, or you may not have permission to edit the data for this item in the geodatabase.
The metadata editor's table of contents shows a list of pages that can be used to edit metadata content.
- On the Item Description page, provide a title, abstract, and purpose for the item, and describe any constraints related to using the item. Provide the title in the Title text box, the abstract in the Description (Abstract) text box, and the purpose in the Summary (Purpose) text box.
Use constraints may also be provided in the Use Limitation text box. If there are no use constraints associated with this item, leave the Use Limitation text box empty. The text None will be added automatically in the FGDC Use Constraints element when you export metadata to an FGDC-format XML file if use constraints haven't been provided.
- On the Topics & Keywords page, click New Theme Keywords if a Theme Keywords heading doesn't already exist. Provide a list of keywords with each keyword on a separate line in the Theme Keywords text box. If they came from a thesaurus, type its name into the Title text box under Thesaurus Citation. If the keywords did not come from a thesaurus, leave the Thesaurus Citation section empty. The text None will be added automatically in the FGDC Theme Keyword Thesaurus element when you export metadata to an FGDC-format XML file if a thesaurus citation hasn't been provided.
- On the Citation page, the title you already provided appears at the top of the page. Click Dates. Click the calendar icon next to Published to select an appropriate publication date.
In the calendar, you can scroll through the months using the arrows or click the month and year at the top to pick from a list. Click the year at the top of the calendar again to pick from a list of years.
The selected date appears on the page. If the information is significant, you can also identify the time the item was published. Click the up and down arrows to set the hour, or click the hour and type the appropriate number. To set the minutes and seconds, click that portion of the time and type the appropriate number.
- On the Citation Contacts page, click New Contact, then click Originator in the Role list. Identify the individual who or organization that is the originator of the item by typing an appropriate value into the Name or Organization text box. If originator contacts were created when your metadata was upgraded, an individual's name may have been placed in the Organization text box; you may want to correct this.
- On the Contacts page under the Metadata heading, click New Contact if a contact doesn't already exist. Identify the point of contact for the item's metadata, including all relevant contact information. If an organization has been identified, this will be considered the primary contact when information is exported to an FGDC-format XML file.
- On the Details page under the Resource heading, click New Status if a status doesn't already exist. Select the appropriate value in the Status list to identify the item's progress.
- On the Extents page, if the item contains spatial data, a bounding box describing its extent will have been added automatically to the metadata. A bounding box that was provided manually in ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1 may also have been upgraded. If the item's metadata doesn't already include a spatial extent, click New Extent, then click New Bounding Box under the Extent heading. Provide the appropriate coordinates for the item's bounding rectangle.
When FGDC-format metadata is upgraded, Time Period of Content information is stored in a separate extent section that contains only temporal extent information; temporal and spatial extents can be combined in one section when you create new metadata for an item in the current version of ArcGIS Desktop. Describe how recent the item's spatial data is in the Description text box, and provide the appropriate date or date range for the resource by clicking either the New Temporal Period Extent or the New Temporal Instant Extent under the Extent heading. Many individual dates can be provided, if desired; the event that occurred at each date should be explained.
For each date, click the calendar control and select the appropriate date, then provide a time, if appropriate. A year, month, and day must be provided. If your FGDC-format metadata contains only a year, the value stored in ArcGIS metadata will be January first of that year. If the existing metadata contained only a year and a month, the value stored in ArcGIS metadata will be the first day of that month. If the item's data was collected during the month of June, describe this by providing a time period where the beginning and ending dates are the beginning and ending days in that month. If you only know the item was published in 1998, provide a time period where the beginning and ending dates are the beginning and ending days in that year. You can describe uncertainties about the data's time period in either the extent's Description or on the Quality page in an appropriate data quality Report.
- On the Maintenance page under the Resource heading, click the appropriate value in the Update Frequency list to describe how often the item is updated.
- The same use constraints that are provided on the Item Description page are also available on the Constraints page in the General Constraints section in the Use Limitation text box. If you didn't provide this information on the Item Description page, you can do so here by clicking New General Constraints, then clicking New Use Limitation. If there are no use constraints associated with this item, leave the Use Limitation text box empty. The text None will be added automatically in the FGDC Use Constraints element when you export metadata to an FGDC-format XML file if use constraints haven't been provided.
Any access constraints associated with the item can also be provided on this page in the Other Constraints text box. If a Legal Constraints section doesn't already exist on this page, click New Legal Constraints, then click New Other Constraints. If there are no access constraints associated with this item, leave the Other Constraints text box empty. The text None will be added automatically in the FGDC Access Constraints element when you export metadata to an FGDC-format XML file if access constraints haven't been provided.Note:
If you upgraded the item's existing 9.3.1 metadata with ArcGIS Desktop 10.0 Service Pack 2 or earlier, the upgrade may have upgraded the use and access constraints differently. The upgraded content may be left as is. However, the use constraints won't be available to the current version of ArcGIS Desktop for publishing and searching unless the content is arranged as described above. Any phrases such as Access constraints: or Use constraints: that were added to the values can be removed.
- If the item can be accessed on the Internet, provide a link to this online location on the Distribution page. For example, you might create a layer or map package and share it on the ArcGIS website. After doing so, update metadata for your local copy of the item to reference the URL from which the package is available. At the top level of the Distribution page, click New Digital Transfer Options if this heading doesn't already exist. Under the Digital Transfer Options heading, click New Online Resource. Type an appropriate URL in the Linkage text box.
- Click Save to save your changes.
The date of the metadata will be automatically updated for you at this time. You can see all of your changes in the Description tab under the ArcGIS Metadata heading.
Some mandatory FGDC metadata elements, such as the Metadata Standard Name, are not available to be edited in the Description tab because this information is handled for you automatically according to your ArcGIS metadata style.
The information above only covers the minimum set of required FGDC metadata content. However, you can create complete FGDC metadata content using the current version of ArcGIS by following the Illustrated guide to complete FGDC metadata.
Exporting ArcGIS metadata to an FGDC-format XML file
After creating your metadata content, if you want to share information about your item with others through a site such as geodata.gov, you must export it to an FGDC-compliant XML file that can be published to the site.
- Click the Export button in the Description tab.The Export Metadata tool's dialog box opens. The Source Metadata parameter is automatically set to the item's location. The Translator parameter is automatically set to the ARCGIS2FGDC.xml translator, which knows how to get information from the appropriate ArcGIS metadata elements and organize it into an FGDC XML file.
- Provide an appropriate name for the FGDC-format XML file that will be exported in the Output File parameter.
- Click OK.
Publishing the exported FGDC XML file to Geodata.gov
The exported XML file can be uploaded to geodata.gov after registering and logging in to the site. Select the Upload Metadata option.
If the items you share and their metadata are continually updated and you would like to regularly publish metadata updates, you can create and automate a Python script that can export FGDC metadata from the appropriate items to a web-accessible folder. Geodata.gov can regularly harvest your metadata from this location.
Producing other FGDC metadata files
In some cases, you might need to provide your metadata to others using FGDC-format text and HTML files. These and other file formats that are traditionally associated with FGDC metadata can be generated from the FGDC-format XML file exported above with the USGS MP Metadata Translator tool, which is available in the Conversion toolbox in the Metadata toolset. Instructions for producing an FGDC-format HTML file are provided below.
This tool uses the USGS metadata parser utility, known as mp. A copy of mp is provided with ArcGIS Desktop and used by the tool.
- Click Geoprocessing > Search For Tools.
The Search window opens.
- Start typing usgs mp into the Search text box. Click usgs mp metadata translator (conversion) in the list of tools that appears.
The USGS MP Metadata Translator tool is listed in the search results.
- Click USGS MP Metadata Translator (Conversion) in the search results list to open this tool.
- Drag and drop the exported FGDC-format XML file onto the Source Metadata parameter in the tool's dialog box.
- To produce an FGDC-format HTML file, click HTML in the Conversion Type list.
- Provide an appropriate file name in the Output File parameter. Make sure you specify an appropriate file extension such as .html.
- Click OK.
To produce an FGDC-format structured text file, you would select the TEXT Conversion Type, instead, and specify an appropriate file extension such as .txt in the Output File parameter. SGML, DIF, and FAQ-format HTML files can also be produced with this tool. Any validation warnings and errors produced by mp can be saved to a text file instead of being returned by the tool as messages; provide an appropriate file name and location in the Log File parameter.
If you need to produce HTML and text files like this on a regular basis, use a model or a Python script to export all the FGDC metadata files you need in one step, as illustrated below.
Importing FGDC metadata
If you have metadata in an FGDC-format XML file, you can import this information to an item.
- Click the Import button in the Description tab.
The Import Metadata tool's dialog box opens. The Target Metadata parameter is automatically set to the item's location.
- Provide the appropriate path to the FGDC-format XML file that will be imported in the Source Metadata parameter.
- In the Import Type list, click FROM_FGDC.
- Click OK.
Ignore all warning messages produced by the Import Metadata tool.
The imported metadata content is translated to the ArcGIS metadata format and then included in the item's metadata. Any existing ArcGIS metadata content will be replaced by the imported metadata content. However, the item's original geoprocessing history and thumbnail are not lost.
If you are importing FGDC-format metadata from another ArcGIS item, any properties that were added automatically to the source item's metadata by ArcGIS are not imported. Properties that are appropriate to the target item are added automatically at the end of the import process. If Enable automatic updates is checked, all content that can be synchronized with the target item will be updated in its metadata. That is, any manually provided properties in the source item's metadata, such as the number of features in a feature class, will be overwritten by the target item's actual properties or a default value that is appropriate for the item. This will include the item's title, which will be replaced by the item's name; while this might not be the desired result if you are importing an XML file with the item's FGDC-format metadata into ArcGIS, it would be the desired result if you were importing metadata from a raster to a feature class where it is highly unlikely that both items would use the same descriptive title.
Importing an FGDC-format structured text file
In the current version of ArcGIS Desktop, metadata can only be imported to an item if it is in an XML file. However, you may be given metadata for an item in one of the other FGDC-format files such as a text file. This text file must be converted to an FGDC-format XML file using the metadata parser utility, mp, before it can be imported.
The USGS MP Metadata Translator tool only accepts FGDC-format XML files in the Source Metadata parameter, so it can't be used to perform the conversion. Because a copy of mp is provided with ArcGIS Desktop, you can perform the conversion in ArcGIS using a Python script. The example script below performs the conversion and then imports the resulting FGDC-format XML file with the Import Metadata tool as described above.
A Python script that first converts an FGDC-format structured text file to an FGDC-format XML file, then imports the XML file to the item as its metadata.
import os import arcpy #set local variables dir = arcpy.GetInstallInfo("desktop")["InstallDir"] + "bin" fgdcTXT = "c:/data/fgdcInText.txt" fgdcXML = "c:/data/fgdcOutXML.xml" #convert the text file to an XML file runCmd = "mp.exe " + fgdcTXT + " -x " + fgdcXML os.chdir(dir) os.system(runCmd) #import the XML file from arcpy import env env.workspace = "c:/data/data.gdb" arcpy.ImportMetadata_conversion (fgdcXML,"FROM_FGDC","streams")