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Open-File Report Series 2014–1132

Metadata Wizard: An Easy-to-Use Tool for Creating FGDC–CSDGM Metadata for Geospatial Datasets in ESRI ArcGIS Desktop

By Drew A. Ignizio, Michael S. O’Donnell, and Colin B. Talbert

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5.31 MB)Abstract

Creating compliant metadata for scientific data products is mandated for all federal Geographic Information Systems professionals and is a best practice for members of the geospatial data community. However, the complexity of the The Federal Geographic Data Committee’s Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata, the limited availability of easy-to-use tools, and recent changes in the ESRI software environment continue to make metadata creation a challenge. Staff at the U.S. Geological Survey Fort Collins Science Center have developed a Python toolbox for ESRI ArcDesktop to facilitate a semi-automated workflow to create and update metadata records in ESRI’s 10.x software. The U.S. Geological Survey Metadata Wizard tool automatically populates several metadata elements: the spatial reference, spatial extent, geospatial presentation format, vector feature count or raster column/row count, native system/processing environment, and the metadata creation date. Once the software auto-populates these elements, users can easily add attribute definitions and other relevant information in a simple Graphical User Interface. The tool, which offers a simple design free of esoteric metadata language, has the potential to save many government and non-government organizations a significant amount of time and costs by facilitating the development of The Federal Geographic Data Committee’s Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata compliant metadata for ESRI software users. A working version of the tool is now available for ESRI ArcDesktop, version 10.0, 10.1, and 10.2 (downloadable at http:/

First posted August 15, 2014

For additional information contact:
Director, Fort Collins Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
2150 Centre Ave., Bldg. C
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8118

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Suggested citation:

Ignizio, D.A., O’Donnell, M.S., and Talbert, C.B., 2014, Metadata wizard—An easy-to-use tool for creating FGDC–CSDGM metadata for geospatial datasets in ESRI ArcDesktop: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2014–1132, 14 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)




Downloading and Installation

Using the Metadata Wizard

Software Workflow/Processing Steps

Tool Updates and Maintenance

Data and Software Disclaimer


Reference Cited

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