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Quick Reference - FAQs from Practitioners

1) Q: How do I upload metadata into


Federal Agencies: is organized into separate catalogs to provide access to three classes of published, publicly accessible federal data and related access tools and services: “raw” data, geodata and applications, each with specific distinguishing characteristics.

Although the selection criteria, approval, and submission process differ by department and agency, the following highlights the submission process.

  • Nomination of data or application
    • Although any individual or organization may suggest a dataset or application for promotion to, primary responsibility rests with the data steward(s) responsible for its availability and management.
  • Determination of suitability and initial selection
    • Initial selection of nominated datasets and/or applications depends on analysis of their suitability.  Suitability is determined by meeting all of the criteria set forth in the Data Policy.
  • Preparation and submission of metadata
    • “Raw” data and Applications

For individual or groups of datasets and applications, a standard metadata template is available via the Dataset Management System (DMS) at .  Completed records are most often submitted by an appointed data steward.


Federal geodata records are entered into the catalog in fully FDGC-compliant form, where they will then be “flagged” for inclusion in For information on the appropriate metadata standard, visit the Metadata Requirements section.

  • Internal review and certification for publication
    • All metadata submitted through the DMS are reviewed by either the department/agency POC or the Geodata POC
  • Review and Approval
    • Publication in is a multi-step process which requires several approvals and certifications.  The following outlines the approval process:
      • Agency/Line Office and/or Geodata POC
      • Agency/Department POC
      • Program Management Office (PMO) POC

For more information, contact your department, agency, or line office metadata steward.


Changes are currently being made to accommodate non-federal spatial data and information.  The process for uploading metadata to be represented in is in development.

2) Q: How do I publish a catalog so that my metadata becomes part of the system?

A: Metadata can be submitted and harvested through a semi-automated process or through the use of federal catalogs.  The following types of catalogs are accepted by

  • Web Accessible Folder (WAF)
    • An HTTP accessible directory of files, typically metadata files in XML format in which all files and their time-stamps are visible to a web browser or client
  • Z39.50 Protocol
    • A client-server protocol used for searching and retrieving information from remote computer database,  the Z39.50 protocol syntax supports the search, retrieval, sort, and browsing of information.

More information: ANSI/NISO Z39.50 Specification

  • OGC OpenGIS Catalogue Service for Web (CS-W)
    • The OGC Catalog Service defines and utilizes common interfaces to discover, browse, and query metadata about data, services, and other resources.  More information – OGC Specification
    • Open Archives Initiative – Protocol for Metadata Harvesting
      • The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) provides an application-independent interoperability framework based on metadata harvesting.  For implementation guidelines and additional information, visit

3) Q: Which metadata standards should be used to document my agency/organizations data holdings?

A:  As described in the “How do I upload metadata into” section above, certain metadata restrictions apply differently to “raw” data and applications and geodata.  For more information on recommended metadata standards, visit the Metadata Requirements section.

4) Q: How do I make my data accessible to

A: There are two options for making your data accessible to

  • Metadata discovery
    • Using the information and recommendations for metadata standards, available here, data stewards and providers should ensure that a link to the original, authoritative dataset is provided.
    • Web Services
      • can provide direct access to web services. For information on common web mapping service standards and data publishing considerations, visit the Data Publishing and Exchange section.

5) Q: If my metadata has been submitted to and accepted by Geospatial One-Stop, will it be automatically searchable within

A: Yes. If your Federal dataset has been accepted by Geospatial One-Stop as well as flagged and approved through the approval/certification process (see Question above), these data should be searchable within If your dataset is from a non-Federal source, it is now available through

6) Q: How can I provide input to the ocean community?

A: Please visit the Forums.