The first responsibility of the Data Standards/Metadata Task Force is to provide metadata training to GIS community by conducting a two-day instructor-led course. Metadata or "data about data" provide documentation of spatial data, describing content, quality, condition, and other characteristics of a data set. Metadata contain important information, which allows the data it describes to be used appropriately and can make it available for others to use as well. In this course, participants learn the widely used Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) standard or set of guidelines, for creating metadata for geographic data. This standard defines what information belongs in a metadata file using a common set of terminology and the order in which it should be presented. FGDC compliant metadata are also formatted to allow for a uniform search process when attempting to locate data through an internet clearinghouse. Participants also gain valuable hands?on experience using ESRI's ArcCatalog and its metadata editor component to create metadata files that adhere to the FGDC standard. This course demonstrates that following the FGDC standard will make it easier for people within the GIS community to create and utilize metadata. It will also show that metadata will improve open information access and data sharing by utilizing the New Jersey Geographic Information Network (NJGIN) to obtain well-documented data in a timely and cost effective manner through FGDC compliant metadata.
The second responsibility of the Data Standards/Metadata Task Force is to promote the efficient sharing of geospatial information among the New Jersey GIS community through the cooperative use of data standards. The use of common data standards among the GIS community will foster consistently defined and formatted data elements and sets of data values, and provide efficient access to more meaningful data. The mission of our task force is to collect and publish on NJGIN "best practices" guidelines to aid the GIS community in the creation of framework data layers.