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Minnesota Geographic Metadata

Title : Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines 

Date Issued : Approved by the Minnesota Governor's Council on Geographic Information October 7, 1998 (version 1.2) 

Applicability Who cares about this standard? All developers and users of digital geospatial data in Minnesota. When do they apply? When do they not apply? These guidelines have been developed to provide a method for documenting critical information about digital geospatial data sets. As guidelines, they have no specific compliance requirements. However, individual agencies and organizations may develop their own compliance requirements for use of these guidelines. 

Purpose of this Standard: 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. The guidelines are based on a standard developed by the Federal Geographic Data Committee in 1993: The Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata . The Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines are designed to create a streamlined implementation of the federal standard, while retaining the essence of its original content.

Standard Requirements: The Guidelines consist of seven sections

  • Identification Information
  • Data Quality Information
  • Spatial Data Organization Information
  • Spatial Reference Information
  • Entity and Attribute Information
  • Distribution Information
  • Metadata Reference Information

The guidelines specify element names, field types, domains and descriptions. They also include a crosswalk to the identical elements from the parent federal standard, the Content Standard for Geospatial Metadata. The complete guidelines are found at

Compliance: What constitutes compliance? These guidelines have no specific compliance requirements. They are recommended for all government and non-government entities that create geospatial data sets. Individual agencies and organizations may develop their own compliance requirements for use of these guidelines. How will compliance be measured? Not applicable.

References and Sources of More Information: Detailed documentation of the Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines can be found at Additional metadata resources can be found at The Federal Geographic Data Committee's Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata can be found at


Further information about this standard may be obtained from the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo).

300 Centennial Building
658 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55155

phone: 651-201-2499


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