Projects > Metadata Training for Cyberinfrastructure and Earth Science Communities


The project is awarded by the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) under the Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP). We proposed to leverage the expertise of the Joint Center for Intelligent Spatial Computing (CISC) and software provided by Intergraph to conduct metadata training for the Federation of Earth Science Information Partnership (ESIP) and the newly established Cyberinfrastructure Specialty Group (CISG) within the American Association of Geographers (AAG).

This project's steps are to:
  1. Organize CISC metadata expertise
  2. develop course modules based on the metadata expertise
  3. integrate exercises and hands-on experience into the modules with the Intergraph software
  4. test and improve the course modules at CISC
  5. offer training to the CISG of the AAG and the ESIP Federation in their annual and semiannual meetings respectively
  6. improve the course modules based on training feedback
  7. share the training modules through the FGDC metadata training network and CISC online metadata services
The proposed project will comply with FGDC or FGDC endorsed standards including the FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata, Version 2 (CSDGM), FGDC-STD-001-1998 or, when available the North American Profile of ISO 19115 Geospatial Information: Metadata using draft North American Profile of Technical Specification 19139. Metadata Services will be through one or more of the following options: a) GOS, b) a registered Z39.50 Clearinghouse server, and c) an FGDC Browse-enabled Web Directory, where metadata is in XML. Compliance with these metadata standards will not only help to support the NSDI but also make our data, metadata, information and knowledge services interoperable and easy to maintain and update, from a long-term perspective.
The expected outcomes will be:
  1. >ESIP, AAG CISG, and other organizations and individuals who participate in the workshops are competent in creating compliant metadata
  2. metadata files for other organizations are created if needed
  3. resulting metadata can be discovered and harvested through GOS, Z39.50 Clearinghouse server, or the FGDC Browse-enabled Web Directory
  4. establish relationships with ESIP, CISG, and other organizations to sustain metadata activities beyond the performance period
  5. register trainers at the FGDC Metadata Trainer Registry
  6. workshops posted to the FGDC Calendar


Activity I: Publish, Harvest, and Query Metadata via OGC CSW2.0.1 and Geo-Clearinghouse

This activity is trying to address OGC interoperability standards including Web Map Service (WMS), Web Feature Service (WFS), Web Coverage Service (WCS) by building on a community catalog for air quality working group to publish, harvest and query metadata. The development of the community catalog is to utilize OGC Web Catalogue Service (CSW) standard to build both catalog server for publishing, harvesting and conducting transaction of geometadata. Meanwhile, CSW client would also be built to train domain users to understand the working mechanism of catalogue service as well as how to correctly format and send a metadata query from the metadata catalogue. Currently, the operational CSW server is hosted at GMU site ( ). Metadata training in this activity includes guiding AQ community researchers on ISO19115/ISO19139 metadata creation, metadata and OGC service publication, CSW client development, as well as harvest CSW services into GEOSS clearinghouse.

Activity II: Z39.50 Metadata Service Setup and Training for Air Quality Community

A full background study was conducted on both open-source and commercial software for establishing Z39.50 metadata server for geospatial information retrieval. The software including open sources ones such as Isite and Geonetwork; commercial toolkits including Compusult MetaManager Toolkit, ArcIMS metadata service (ArcCatalog, ArcSDE and Z39.50 Connector) and Intergraph Geoconnect Metadata Management Server. We also evaluated the full support of these software to various metadata standards such as FGDC metadata, ISO 19115(19119), NASA DIF, ANZLIC metadata and Dublin Core. And FGDC recommended metadata service Isite was selected for Z39.50 metadata training because its stability and easy-to-use feature. The Z39.50 server is maintained on GMU site (Z3960:// 6668).
Upon this community, we conduct two trainings in 2009 ESIP Winter Meeting in DC and Summer Meeting in CA. The training session includes hands-on experience in how to batch import metadata files into Z39.50 server; how to build spatial index to speed up spatial query at client side; and how to conduct regular harvest, full harvest, validation and publishment of existing Z39.50 services into Geospatial One Stop (GOS) portal. This activity mainly orients researchers in Air Quality (AQ) community who trying to build up and maintain metadata information about emissions, human dimensions and other impact on environment and atmosphere.

Activity III: Metadata Within Cyberinfrastructure: An Introduction to the Geospatial Metadata Needs, Practice, and Future within the Cyberinfrastructure.

Metadata workshop was conducted during the annual meeting of Association of American Geographers at March 22nd, 2009. We integrated our metadata research experiences from several projects like NASA ESG (Earth Science Gateway), ESIP EIE (Earth Information Exchange), and WECHO (WaterCycle for Earth Clearing HOuse) to instruct the attendees on FGDC metadata standards, how we could use these metadata for? What are the online tools available for us to create metadata? How to search data by using metadata catalogs? How metadata relate to knowledge representation and ontology? How metadata can help with knowledge-based reasoning and computing scheduling, as well as data management and visualization? How metadata can be utilized within grid computing, cloud computing, and other advanced CyberInfrastructure topics.
This training was also conducted in CISC summer training program where 18 international students were instructed with detailed information about metadata standards and catalogue service.

Activity IV: Semantic-Enabled Meta-Catalogue Research

Semantic enabled metadata-catalogue research was employed in these project including research activities and training. The cutting-edge semantic web technology in order to seamlessly connect various geo-catalogues such as FGDC's Geospatial One Stop portal, NASA's Earth Science Gateway Portal, NOAA's National Climate Data Center Portal, NASA's Earth Clearinghouse Portal, NASA's Global Climate Master Directory was applied to form an integral portal for geospatial data and metadata discovery. Semantic technology is added to the query layer to improve the accuracy of traditional keyword based search functionality. We present this new research outcome on 2009 summer training program to international researchers in geospatial fields. The current available operational system can be found from:


I: Metadata Training in the ESIP Winter Semi-annual Meeting

Phil Yang provided a one-hour metadata training on Jan 6, 2009 in the ESIP winter semi-annual meeting held in Embassy Suites Convention Center, Washington DC. 50 people from ESIP member institute and some other professionals and students from academia joined this training. A live demo was given in the poster session.

II: AAG 2009 Pre-conference Metadata Workshop

A half-day metadata training was organized on March 22, 2009 with the AAG 2009 conference in Capri Meeting Room 109, Reviera Hotel, Las Vegas. Cyberinfrastruture Specialty Group (CISG) of AAG sponsored this workshop. Phil Yang, Wenwen Li etc. gave presentations and online practices were conducted under the supervisor of the instructors. This workshop integrated several examples of GOS, EIE, WECHO, and Interoperability Testbed to introduce the metadata issues including FGDC metadata standards, Catalogue Service for Web, online tools available for metadata, knowledge representation and ontology for metadata, and metadata visualization. Most of the participants brought a laptop for practicing the operations of metadata. Around 30 people joined the workshop.

III: Metadata Presentation in ESIP Summer Semi-annual Meeting

Phil Yang gave a half-hour presentation on metadata search, access and visualization on July 7-10, 2009 in metadata showcase session in the ESIP summer semi-annual meeting held in University of California, Santa Barbara, California. Some 25 people joined this session. Living demo was given in the presentation.

IV: Integrated Metadata Training in GMU Course

The course Distributed GIS was designed for senior undergraduate students and graduate students in Fairfax campus, GMU. 20 students selected this course in the winter semester. A 3-hour course is about metadata standards, catalogue service, search and visualization.

V: CISC International Summer Training Program

The 2009Advanced Certificate for GeoInformation Sciences (ACGIS) program was successfully accomplished on Aug.20, 2009. 18 professionals from the surveying and mapping bureaus of Heilongjiang, Guangxi, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Hubei participated in the 8-week training from July 19 to Aug 20, 2009. A half-day training is about metadata standards, catalogue service, metadata clearinghouse, search, access and visualization.

4. Publications

I. Journals
Yang C., Wu H., Huang Q., Li Z., Li J., 2009. Spatial Computing for Supporting Geographic Science, PNAS . (in review)

Yang C., Raskin R., 2009. Introduction to Distributed geographic information processing research, International Journal of Geographic Information Science . 23(5): 553-560.

Yang C., Cao Y., Evans J., 2007.WMSPerformance and Client design principles, The journal of GeoInformation Science and Remote Sensing ,44 (4):320-333.

Yang C., Evans J., Cole M., Alameh N., Marley S., and Bambacus M., 2007. The Emerging Concepts and Applications of the Spatial Web Portal , PE&RS , 73(6):691-698.

II. Conference Proceedings:
Li W., Yang C., Raskin, R., 2008. In: Proceedings of the AAAI'08 Workshop on Scientific Semantic Knowledge Integration, Palo Alto, CA.

III. Conference Presentations
Li W., A semantic-enabled metacatalogue for intelligent geographic information discovery, Geoinformatics 2009, Fairfax, VA, Aug.12-14, 2009.

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