Information Resources and Technology Management


You are invited to read the definitions of terms used in this data standard.

Biological Metadata Standard
The Biological Data Profile of the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM), FGDC-STD-001.1-1999, provides a common set of terminology and definitions for the documentation of biological data through the creation of extended elements. This is an official profile of the data documentation referenced in Executive Order 12906, which requires that spatial data be documented in a consistent manner to facilitate sharing data and to reduce duplication of effort. 

The Profile is designed to document biological data sets, both geospatial and non-geospatial in nature and includes all the elements in the FGDC CSDGM, as well as additional elements to describe biological data sets. Because the Profile includes all elements in the "base" FGDC CSDGM, the software tools and protocols used to collect, index, or exchange FGDC metadata are compatible with the metadata produced according to the Profile.

Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata: Part 1, Biological Data Profile
Historical Data For information on past versions of this standard, contact the Chief Data Officer

Part 270, FW 6, Data Management and Standards, has been superceded by Part 274, FW 2, Establishing Service Data Standards.

Use Instructions
The Biological Data Profile of the FGDC CSDGM must be used to document biological data that is created by Service staff or by contractors. Specifically, the Profile must be used to document data that will be shared, used many times, or of potential historic/long-term importance to the Service. The mandatory use of the Profile does not apply to temporary or intermediate data; however, it must be used to document the steps taken to create the final data files.

The Profile can be used to specify metadata content for the full range of biological resources data and information. This includes biological data that are explicitly geospatial in nature, data that are not explicitly geospatial (such as data resulting from field or laboratory-based research), and "information" categories such as research reports, field notes, or specimen collections. The adopted Service standard for Geospatial Metadata can be viewed at this site.

Guidance and Tools

Metadata Guidance - general information and FAQ's on using the FGDC metadata standards.

Metadata Records and Templates - example FWS metadata records and templates for metadata creation.

Metadata Support - information on FWS metadata support services and the Memorandum of Understanding with USGS NBII Program on creating and publishing formal metadata on geospatial data sets.

Metadata Tools - commercial and freeware/shareware tools for creating FGDC-compliant metadata.

Initial Approval Date
August 20, 2003
Revision Approval Date
Date of Distribution to FWS Directorate
Validation Date
November 29, 2013
Data Steward Chief Data Officer


Last updated: May 9, 2019