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Metadata are textfiles that document important information about a specific dataset. A file's metadata records information such as who owns the data, how it was created, when it was last updated, and contact details of the data owner. It provides enough information for users to make judgements about the quality and reliability of the data itself.

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Metadata in MIDA Abstract Metadata Discovery Metadata Full Metadata MIDA Discovery Elements

Metadata in MIDA

Metadata form an integral part of the MIDA by documenting each dataset held in the atlas in a consistent way. ISO 19115 has been adopted as the metadata standard, because most key organisations handling spatial data in Ireland and internationally intend to align their standards with it. Existing standards bodies such as the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) in the US and the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) also intend to migrate their existing metadata standards to correspond with the ISO standard.

The atlas contains three levels of metadata: Abstract metadata, which provides a brief summary of the dataset; Discovery metadata, which consists of core metadata elements and serves as the central MIDA metadata database; and Full metadata, which is supplied by data owners. Hyperlinks within the atlas will allow users to move easily between the different metadata levels.

All the elements in each discovery metadata record are labeled using the XML tags as defined in the ISO 19115 standard. XML was chosen because it is an open standard, is platform independent and enables easy exchange of information with other organisations. The records are viewed in the MIDA via the use of XSL style sheets. The records themselves are stored in a database which can be queried. The query system is currently under construction and once operational it will be accessible via this page.

Abstract Metadata

This provides summary information on the dataset being viewed in the atlas, and is the first window that appears when the metadata button is clicked in the Information Tab. It includes the dataset title, description, geographical extent, data owner and the data publicaton date.

Discovery Metadata

The atlas's Discovery Metadata provides atlas users with more detailed information about a dataset being viewed in order to give a better idea of data quality as well as contact information for the data owner.

The Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Cookbook, produced by a working group of the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI), describes discovery metadata as “the minimum amount of information that needs to be provided to convey to the inquirer the nature and content of the data resource. This falls into broad categories to answer the ‘what, why, when, who, where and how’ questions about geospatial data”. Because of the diversity and number of organisations that are contributing datasets to the MIDA, the creation of a discovery set of metadata selected from ISO standards best serves the project’s efforts, rather than attempting to conform to the complete, comprehensive ISO standard. Various examples of discovery metadata that are used internationally were evaluated and referenced to determine what would be best for the MIDA (e.g. ANZLIC, Australia; NGDF, UK). The eight categories of data in which elements are placed are shown in the table below. The section names are not those of ISO, but were chosen to aid navigation and understanding of the table by users. A total of 55 elements are included in each record. Of those, 35 are displayed in HTML for each data layer; the others are hardcoded and are included in order to conform to ISO core metadata requirements.

Dataset Description Geographical Information
Dataset Source Dataset Status Access and Use
Contact Information Metadata Information  
Table 1: Section headings for MIDA Discovery metadata elements.

A web-enabled discovery data entry tool has also been developed for inhouse use. Eventually this will be available online to allow data providers to supply their metadata in a standard format which can be easily inserted in the MIDA database.

Full Metadata

If full metadata exists, it will be displayed in the atlas in the format supplied by the data owners who contribute their datasets. It is not stored in the MIDA XML database. Each full metadata page is displayed in HTML as the owner provides it, therefore its quality, standardisation, and completeness is the responsibility of the data providers themselves and not of the MIDA development team. The full metadata can be downloaded in its native format.

MIDA Discovery Metadata Elements

The table presents the ISO 19115 conformant elements which are stored for each data layer in the atlas.

Elements marked with * are not part of the ISO standard and will be defined as part of the profile in the implementation. Elements shown in italics are of fixed value and not input by the user. They are included to meet ISO standard compatibility rules.

Plain English Description ISO Shortname ISO Definition
Title of the dataset
ResTitle Name by which the cited resource is known
Owner organisation RpOrgName Name of the responsible oganisation
Filename of dataset to which this metadata corresponds
ResAltTitle Short name or other language name by which the cited information is known
Main themes of dataset TpCat Main theme(s) of the dataset
When the dataset was created or published ResRefDate Reference date for the cited resource
  RefDateType Event used for reference date
Brief description, or abstract for the dataset IdAbs Brief narrative summary of the content of the resource
A list of keywords Keyword Commonly used word ….used to describe the subject
Is it vector, grid, data etc. SpatRpType Method used to spatially represent geographic information
  GraphOver A graphic that illustrates the resource
  DataLang Language used within the dataset
  DataChar Full name of the character coding standard used for the dataset
Use a scale value (e.g. 1:50000) for vector data EquScale Level of detail expressed as the scale of a comparable map or chart
Use pixel spacing (e.g. 30 m) for raster data ScaleDist Ground sample distance
 Geographic Information
Describe which area the dataset covers GeoDesc Description of the geographic area within which data is available
What area does the dataset cover ExDesc Spatial and temporal extent for the referring object
Generally Irish National Grid RefSysId Name of reference system used
Western-most coord. in longitude WestBL
Western-most coordinate of the limit of the dataset extent, expressed in longitude in decimal degrees (positive east)
Eastern-most coord. in longitude EastBL Eastern-most coordinate of the limit of the dataset extent, expressed in longitude in decimal degrees (positive east)
Southern-most coord. in latitude southBL Southern-most coordinate of the limit of the dataset extent, expressed in latitude in decimal degrees (positive north)
Northern-most coord. in latitude northBL Northern-most coordinate of the limit of the dataset extent, expressed in latitude in decimal degrees (positive north)
In ING *WestEx
Western-most coordinate of the limit of the dataset extent
In ING *EastEx Eastern-most coordinate of the limit of the dataset extent
In ING *SouthEx Southern-most coordinate of the limit of the dataset extent
In ING *NorthEx Northern-most coordinate of the limit of the dataset extent
 Dataset Source
When was the data collected TM_CalDate Date for the content of the dataset
Is it a dataset, time series, an element or what DqScope The specific data to which the data quality information applies
How was the dataset generated
Lineage Statement General explanation of the data producer’s knowledge about the lineage of a dataset
 Dataset Status
Is dataset, complete, being updated, etc. IdStatus Status of the resource
How often is the dataset updated
Frequency with which changes and additions are made to the resource after the initial resource is completed
  Access & Use
In what format is the data distributed FormatName Name of the data transfer format
Is there a version number FormatVer Version of the format (date, number, etc)
What media is the data distributed on MedName Name of the medium on which the resource can be received
Is the data free, commercial, research price, etc. ResFes Fees and terms for retrieving the resource, including monetary units
What constraints exist on accessing and using the data OthConsts Other restrictions and legal prerequisites for accessing and using the resource
 Contact Information
Name of distributor RpIndName Name of the responsible person – surname, given name, title seperated by a delimiter
Their organisation RpOrgName Name of the responsible oganisation
Their role Role Function performed by the responsible party
Address DelPoint Address line for the location
  City City of the location
County. For NI or GB insert postcode here as well AdminArea County
  Country Country of the physical address
  VoiceNum Telephone number
  FaxNum Fax number
  EMailAdd Email
Location for on-line access to additional info.
 Metadata Information
This filename MdFileID Unique identifier for this metadata file
  MdLang Language used for documenting metadata
  MdChar Full name of the character coding standard used for the metadata set
When was this MD record created MdDateSt Date that the metadata was created
  MdStanName Name of the metadata standard (including profile name used)
  mdStanVer Version (profile) of the metadata standard used
Who is responsible for this metadata
RpOrgName Name of the responsible oganisation for metadata
  Role Function performed by the responsible party
Availability of extended metadata SuppInfo Supplementary information regarding the dataset
Online link to extended metadata, if available CI_Contact – OnLine Resource Online linkage to further information

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