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AUDMP Information and Networking Strategy

ANNEX 3 The Role of Geographic Metadata

Extracts from ESRI Guidelines

"A number of recent technological advances are changing the role of geographic information systems (GISs) in many organizations. Industry trends are shifting from a GIS-centric view to an information system (IS) department-centric view with GIS as an integrated component, and from integrated applications to component-based applications where corporate data structures dominate and geodata are integrated into these structures. A comparable trend is visible in the area of spatial databases: numerous organizations have matured from building to using their geographic databases as well as making them publicly available to others. This trend has led to an explosion of available geodata sets, which, along with the recent advances in network computing (more commonly known as the information superhighway), is helping to accelerate spatial data sharing. Coupled with these trends, organizations have recognized the need to manage their data holdings to remain productive and competitive. Spatial metadata provide a viable solution to this data management problem."

" Metadata are, therefore, also referred to as additional information that is needed for the data to be useful (i.e., information that facilitates understanding between the provider and the user of the data and their content)."

"Metadata management is multidimensional; it includes the following aspects:

  • Inventorying existing data holdings
  • Defining the names and data items to facilitate understanding, a common basis for communication, and sharing across user domains
  • Building a keyword list of names and definitions
  • Indexing the inventory and the keyword list for access
  • Recording processing steps performed on the data including those involved in the initial collection
  • Documenting the data structures used and the data model implemented
  • Recording the logical and the physical database schema
  • Documenting the relationships between data items in different data sets as well as between individual data sets
  • Recording the processing steps performed on the data including precollection decisions, collection methods, conversion, and postconversion editing and analyses
  • Documenting the representation chosen for the data
  • Documenting application-specific metadata including flowcharts for macro language programs
  • Updating the metadatabase in a consistent fashion and at regular intervals"

"Another objective of capturing metadata is to provide a summary view of the essential characteristics of spatial data sets, which allows the user to make an informed assessment of their fitness for use for a specific application."

"A benefit not to be overlooked in the organizational environment is that collecting and storing spatial metadata help you to establish and enforce naming, definition, cataloguing, and operating standards for all departments; this in turn is the vital foundation for you to understand, collaborate, and share your resources and use those of others."

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