ISO 19115

"The ISO 19115 Standard defines an extensive set of metadata elements; typically only a subset of the full number of elements is used. However, it is essential that a basic minimum number of metadata elements be maintained for a dataset. Listed are the core metadata elements required to identify a dataset, typically for catalogue purposes. This list contains metadata elements answering the following questions:

  • “Does a dataset on a specific topic exist (‘what’)?”,
  • “For a specific place (‘where’)?”,
  • “For a specific date or period (‘when’)?” and
  • “A point of contact to learn more about or order the dataset (‘who’)?”.

Using the recommended optional elements in addition to the mandatory elements will increase interoperability, allowing users to understand without ambiguity the geographic data and the related metadata provided by either the producer or the distributor. Dataset metadata profiles of this International Standard shall include this core.

Listed below (see Table 3) are the core metadata elements (mandatory and recommended optional) required for describing a dataset. An “M” indicates that the element is mandatory. An “O” indicates that the element is optional. A “C” indicates that the element is mandatory under certain conditions." (Source: NOAA, 2018)

Dataset title (M)


Dataset reference date (M)


Abstract describing the dataset (M)


Dataset language (M)


Geographic location of the dataset (by four coordinates or by geographic identifier) (C)

(MD_Metadata/MD_DataIdentification.extent/EX_Extent/EX_GeographicExtent/EX_GeographicBoundingBox or EX_GeographicDescription)

Dataset character set (C)


Additional extent information for the dataset (vertical and temporal) (O)

(MD_Metadata/MD_DataIdentification.extent/EX_Extent/EX_TemporalExtent or EX_VerticalExtent)

Lineage (O)


Spatial representation type (O)


Distribution format (O)

(MD_Metadata/MD_Distribution/ and MD_Format.version)

Metadata standard version (O)


Spatial resolution of the dataset (O)

(MD_Metadata/MD_DataIdentification.spatialResolution/MD_Resolution.equivalentScale or MD_Resolution.distance)

Metadata point of contact (M)


Metadata date stamp (M)


Dataset topic category (M)


Metadata language (C)


Metadata character set (C)


Dataset responsible party (O)


On-line resource (O)


Metadata file identifier (O)


Metadata standard name (O)


Reference system (O)


This Table and content is excerpted from the ISO 19115 Standard.


NOAA (2018): ISO 19115 Core Elements, NOAA's Global Earth Observation - Integrated Data Environment (GEO-IDE) Initiative,  [last accessed: 4 September 2018].