About Metadata

Data available through INSIDE Idaho are currently documented using the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM), Vers. 2 (FGDC-STD-001-1998). INSIDE Idaho will support applicable international metadata standards in the future. Metadata records contain a vast amount of information and can likely answer many questions you may have about a particular data set.

  • What are Metadata?
  •   A metadata record is a collection of answered questions. It is a file of information, usually presented as an XML document, which captures the basic characteristics of a data or information resource. It represents the who, what, when, where, why and how of the resource. Geospatial metadata commonly document geographic digital data such as Geographic Information System (GIS) files, geospatial databases, and earth imagery but can also be used to document geospatial resources including data catalogs, mapping applications, data models and related websites. Metadata records include core library catalog elements such as Title, Abstract, and Publication Data; geographic elements such as Geographic Extent and Projection Information; and database elements such as Attribute Label Definitions and Attribute Domain Values. Learn more at the FGDC website.

  • Who Creates Metadata?
  •   Metadata creation is typically considered to be an obligation of both the data creator and an information specialist. Creating correct metadata is similar to library cataloging, except the producer needs to know more of the scientific information behind the data in order to properly document them.

  • Why Create Metadata?
  •   Metadata helps people who use geospatial data find the data they need and determine how best to use it. Metadata supports producers in locating and using their own data resources and data consumers in locating and using data resources produced by others. Learn more at the FGDC website. Also, see Idaho Standard: S4220—Geospatial Metadata.

  • How Do I Create Metadata?
  •   Successful metadata development requires an understanding of both the data you are trying to describe and the standard itself. Take a look at the "How To Guide on Metadata Implementation" for a practical overview of the issues associated with developing and maintaining metadata for digital spatial data. Also, see Idaho Guideline: G320—Geographic Metadata Guideline.


Keep your metadata up to date and review it periodically. If something changes, document the change in the metadata.


If you need help or have questions about geospatial metadata, contact:

Bruce Godfrey
(208) 292-1407