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Metadata

To locate metadata, go to Download Data, find the file you are interested in, and click on the metadata file. Metadata is included when you download a file. All metadata located on the site are FGDC compliant. Any questions regarding specific metadata should be directed to the original source of the data.

What is Metadata?

Spatial metadata describes geospatial data. Metadata is necessary to determine whether the spatial data set you view meets your criteria for further use and analysis. Some of the questions metadata can answer are listed below:

  • Where did it originate?
  • What is the purpose of the data?
  • What is the scale of the data?
  • What steps were followed to create it?
  • What attributes does it contain?
  • How are the data projected?
  • What geographic area does it cover?
  • How do I obtain the data?
  • Will the data cost anything?
  • Who should I contact for more information?

Government metadata is standardized and should answer all of these questions. The standards for government geospatial metadata can be located online at http://www.fgdc.gov/metadata/geospatial-metadata-standards. Metadata from other sources, such as state and local government varies in content and depth.