Proper documentation is often overlooked when developing new databases to be used for geographic information system processing. When essential information about data is missing, its value is severely reduced. Where did the data come from? When was it collected? How accurate is it, and how can it appropriately be used? Without clear and complete documentation, there are no easy answers to these fundamental questions.
A common approach to documentation builds bridges among data users. Agreement on how data is described cultivates a common vocabulary and improved understanding. An investment in thorough data documentation pays for itself through increased data longevity, a greater ability to share data, decreased user support requirements and, in extreme cases, the avoidance of litigation related to data misuse or copyright violations.
The Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines provide that common approach for documenting all types of geographic data. They have been designed to be straightforward, intuitive and complete. This document describes those guidelines that are based on a standard developed by the Federal Geographic Data Committee in 1993: The Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata. In developing the Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines, the Standards Committee of the former Minnesota Governor’s Council on Geographic Information sought to create a streamlined implementation of the federal standard, while retaining the essence of its original content.
The guidelines consist of seven sections:
Download the Guidelines in PDF format (16p, 471K, PDF)
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The Guidelines are an official state guideline, adopted by the State of Minnesota's MN.IT Services.