Metadata is an important part of any dataset. Metadata provides the "who, what, where, when, and why " of the dataset. This information is essential to users of your data, and it may be helpful to you a few months or years from now when you have forgotten how or why you created a particular dataset.
GIS data created by the National Park Service and its partners are required to be compliant with the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM) as well as the NPS Metadata Profile.
In order to be compliant with the NPS Metadata Profile, you will need to download the NPS Metadata Tools & Editor (MTE). The MTE can also be used to create metadata that is compliant with the CSDGM. The MTE can function as stand-alone software, or you can add it as an extension to ESRI's ArcCatalog. See the Tools link at right for more information.
Writing metadata does not have to be painful! We hope these pages will help you develop strategies to make metadata an integral part of your GIS workflow.