Spatial Metadata Automation: A Key to Spatially Enabling Platform

Hamed Olfat, Mohsen Kalantari, Abbas Rajabifard, Hervé Senot, Ian Williamson


Metadata is a vital tool for any spatially enabling platform, and helps the users to share, discover, assess and access data and services. However, the spatial industry faces different issues and challenges regarding metadata generation, updating and improvement; which could affect the quality of this crucial component of any sharing platform. The main issue is the lack of an appropriate approach to the automated metadata generating and updating process. Metadata and related spatial data are often managed and maintained separately. This issue involves different aspects, including the lack of proper methodologies to integrate metadata and spatial data in a common environment, the generation and updating of metadata outside the spatial dataset lifecycle and the dependency of metadata creation on the metadata authors’ knowledge of the dataset. In addition, the current data discovery services are not user-friendly and sufficiently efficient to serve the end users to easily find the most appropriate datasets and services to meet their needs in a spatially enabling platform.

In response to these issues, this paper presents the new approaches to create, update and improve the content of metadata in an automated fashion to facilitate metadata management. The first approach relates to process-based metadata entry which aims at creating the ISO 19115:2003 metadata elements in parallel with the dataset lifecycle. This approach has the potential to overcome the problem of missing or incomplete metadata through identifying the stage to generate and update metadata within the dataset lifecycle.

Also, the paper introduces a new synchronization approach to automate the spatial metadata updating process. This approach would aid the data custodians to update metadata on the fly whenever the dataset is modified. The synchronization is based on the GML technology to couple dataset and metadata and to exchange them over the Web. The paper also presents and discusses the prototype system implemented and based on the conceptual design of the automatic metadata updating. This system has been integrated with the GeoNetwork opensource and is now up and running.

Finally, the paper demonstrates the prototype systems which have been designed and developed following the automatic metadata enrichment approach. This approach is based on Web 2.0 and Folksonomy concept and involves improving the content of descriptive keyword (as a metadata element) which is the first gateway for discovering existing datasets in a sharing platform. The prototype systems have been implemented within two different environments: Model Information Knowledge Environment (MIKE) and GeoNetwork opensource.


Spatial, metadata, automation, enablement, updating, enrichment, SDI, GML

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