Geographic information metadata provides a detailed description of geographic information resources. Well before digital data emerged, metadata were shown in the margins of paper maps to inform the reader of the name of the map, the scale, the orientation of the magnetic North, the projection used, the coordinate systems, the legend, and so on. Metadata were used to communicate practical information for the proper use of maps. When geographic information entered the digital era with geographic information systems, metadata was also collected digitally to describe datasets and the dataset collections for various purposes. Initially, metadata were collected and saved in digital files by data producers for their own specific needs. The sharing of geographic datasets that required producers to provide metadata with the dataset to guide proper use of the dataset—map scale, data sources, extent, datum, coordinate reference system, etc. Because of issues with sharing and no common understanding of metadata requirements, the need for metadata standardization was recognized by the geographic information community worldwide. The ISO technical committee 211 was created in 1994 with the scope of standardization in the field of digital geographic information to support interoperability. In the early years of the committee, standardization of metadata was initiated for different purposes, which culminated in the ISO 19115:2003 standard. Now, there are many ISO Geographic information standards that covers the various aspect of geographic information metadata. This paper traces an illustration of the development and evolution of the requirements and international standardization activities of geographic information metadata standards, profiles and resources, and how these attest to facilitating the discovery, evaluation, and appropriate use of geographic information in various contexts.
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