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Geospatial Resources at EPA

EPA Metadata Technical Specification Changelog


This document reflects the updates made to the 2007 EPA Geospatial Metadata Technical Specification v1.0 in the 2016 EPA Metadata Technical Specification v2.0. The majority of these changes are in response to the White House’s Open Data Initiative Project Open Data Schema as well as to the ISO 19115 Metadata Standards. EPA will soon release a new version of the EPA Metadata Editor that assists with transforming metadata records from FGDC CSDGM to ISO 19115 in ArcCatalog.


Mappings to other Formats - All guidance has been updated to reflect official FGDC mappings between ISO and POD – this does differ in some respects from our EME 3.2.1 and EME 4.0 guidance, but the impact to users should be negligible.

Purpose – This element was previously mandatory and is now optional. 

Keywords/Tags – One ISO keyword was previously mandatory, and an "EPA Keyword" was optional. This is still the case, though the choices for each have been expanded. Three additional mandatory keywords have been added – one "place" keyword representing one or more geographic feature names describing the range of spatial applicability of the dataset, one "EPA Organization" keyword identifying the organization within the EPA responsible for the stewardship of this dataset, and one "Federal Program Code" keyword as mandated by the federal Office of Management and Budget. The first two new requirements are based on guidance that has been present in the EPA Generic Metadata Styleguide for several years, while the third is part of Project Open Data.

Data Currency, Progress of Data – These elements were previously mandatory and are now optional. 

Constraints – These elements have been reorganized and simplified with no material changes from the guidance issued in EME 3.2.1 or EME 4.0.  Access Level and Rights are new, mandatory fields introduced since the original 2007 Metadata Technical Specification for Project Open Data compliance.

Data License – This element was previously optional and is now mandatory but will be the same for almost all EPA records.

Contacts – Guidance has been significantly simplified. Only two contacts are mandatory – a Publisher and a Metadata Responsible Party. Many other contacts may be provided, but these are the only mandatory elements.

FileIdentifier – This element was previously optional and is now mandatory. 

Language and Country Code – These are new mandatory elements but will be the same for almost all EPA records. 

Temporal Extent – This element was previously optional and remains optional, but a TimeInstant is no longer an acceptable value. Instead a time interval with a beginning and end time is expected.

Data Quality – The previously mandatory elements were Logical Integrity, Completeness, and Horizontal Positional Accuracy. The new specification requires only a single mandatory "Scope" code (usually dataset) and a single free text "Lineage" description, however, rigorous and thorough data quality metadata are still highly recommended and may be mandatory per the quality guidelines specific to each EPA organization.

Entity/Attribute information – This entire section has always been optional and remains optional, though highly recommended. If the section is included, certain elements are required for every attribute in order for the whole section to be considered valid. These elements include Label, Definition, Definition Source, Type, and Width. Type and width are new requirements but can be derived from the data.  Attribute Domain is no longer mandatory.

Metadata Timestamp – This element has always been mandatory and remains mandatory.