Approximately 75% of GIS users don't create metadata to document their GIS data holdings! The GIS Inventory automatically generates metadata that is minimally compliant with the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM) published by the Federal Geographic Data Committee.
1. The GIS Inventory publishes metadata records to a web accessible folder and to a Catalog Service for the Web (CSW). If it is helpful, you can download this metadata and use it as a template with your chosen GIS software for maintaining metadata.
2. If you already produce full CSDGM metadata, you can provide a web link (URL) to the complete metadata record when inventorying a specific data set.
A Multi-Purpose Inventory
This is first and foremost a GIS inventory system. Before the GIS Inventory, users everywhere were often asked to complete GIS surveys/inventories every year - and sometimes multiple uncoordinated surveys each year. NSGIC provides a single, consistent, living inventory for every state and for all levels of government. That means more efficient data collection, more consistent responses, and great time-savings for users.
Inventoried Information Translates to Metadata
Behind the scenes, the GIS inventory stores your responses in a normalized database that can be "harvested" and inserted into carefully designed metadata templates. We do this because the CSDGM Standard allows us to effectively communicate with other systems. The resulting metadata is only minimally compliant with the CSDGM. It does not include important data quality, attribute and other information. Basic metadata from the system is intended to help users jump-start their metadata efforts if they do not currently have metadata.
Download Metadata Files
The metadata is provided as a standards-based XML file that can be imported into several metadata/GIS software or text editing packages for your use and completion. Each data layer documented in the system has a metadata tab to download the metadata file. The National States Geographic Information Council strongly supports using the full CSDGM standard and encourages users to add appropriate information to make your metadata fully compliant.
Harvesting of Metadata
The GIS Inventory posts the metadata to a web folder that is harvested by the Geospatial Platform. Users that already create metadata and post it to a data clearinghouse that is harvested by the GOS Portal can easily "opt-out" of metadata creation in the GIS Inventory by deselecting the appropriate box under each data layer.
In addition to the GOS Portal, your metadata on digital elevation data and orthoimagery is also shared with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for their Flood Map Modernization program, the National Digital Orthophoto Programs Committee (NDOP) and the National Digital Elevation Program Committee (NDEP). This is done as a service to the users to decrease the number of data inventories conducted by the Federal Government.
The U.S. Census Bureau also obtains information from the GIS Inventory and a custom questionnaire was established for Address Authorities that don't necessarily create other GIS data.