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Open Metadata?

Question asked by tminterWork on Jun 6, 2014
Latest reply on Jul 9, 2015 by tminterWork
Questions for the Open Data Team:

  1. What is the ArcGIS Online Open Data capability's design for delivering metadata along with the data?

  2. Will the ArcGIS Platform help its users publish metadata and data?

Once upon a time, geodata consumers the world over discovered that they could not confidently use undocumented geodata for... just about anything.  Usually, there was a brief Description accompanying the data, but it just did not have enough information on which to base good decisions to use or not to use.  They came up with "metadata" which provided the necessary info about the geodata which helped them decide whether or not to use it.  And, of course, they standardized back in the day on Federal Geographic Data Committee Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (whew.  FGDC-CSDGM), which was recognized by FGDC as one of several endorsed metadata style choices a few years ago.

At ArcGIS 10.x or so, Esri adjusted their software's method of managing metadata into a pretty cool structure that could be used to store and deliver various standard metadata styles, based on what geodata consumers like or geodata managers have to use due to policies and such.  It is cool that the data and metadata are stored and managed together, like a shiny little gift-wrapped package.  However, Esri has not (yet?) provided any capability in ArcGIS Server to publish the data and metadata together as a shiny gift-wrapped package in one "it just works" sort of service publishing workflow.

Currently suggested methods of publishing metadata are unlinked from publishing the data, which causes a lot of effort to be expended by a lot of people, repeatedly.

In my opinion, it would quite useful and it would help increase the value proposition of using the ArcGIS Platform if a user or code could make a request to the ArcGIS Server REST API for a layer's metadata, specify the output standard (fgdc, iso, whatever) and format (xml for machines, pretty words for humans), and have the metadata returned.  The ArcGIS Online and its Open Data capability could have a little clicky-link on the Item page or Open Data presentation, respectively, that would let a human zoom into the detailed metadata to understand their choice when they decide to use the data.