Information Resources and Technology Management


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

Geospatial Metadata Standard
Federal participation in the National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse is mandated by OMB Circular No. A-16 (Revised), “Coordination of Geographic Information and Related Spatial Data Activities”. The Circular also establishes the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) as the interagency coordinating body for facilitating Circular A-16 related and implementation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). 

Executive Order 12906, "Coordinating Geographic Data Acquisition and Access: The National Spatial Data Infrastructure," was signed on April 11, 1994, by President William Clinton. Executive Order 12906 requires Federal agencies to document all new geospatial data they collect or produce, either directly or indirectly, using the metadata standard developed by the FGDC.  This standard is known as the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata, Version 2, FGDC-STD-001-1998.

Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM), Version 2, FGDC-STD-001-1998
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Part 270, FW 6, Data Management and Standards, has been superceded by Part 274, FW 2, Establishing Service Data Standards.

Graphical representation of the FGDC CSDGM Version 2 - view or download a color-coded graphic produced by the U.S. Geological Survey's Center for Biological Informatics in conjunction with the FGDC.

Use Instructions
The FGDC CSDGM standard will be used to document geospatial data sets created by FWS staff or by any individual employed as a contractor to the FWS. Specifically, the CSDGM Version 2 must be used to document data that will be shared, used many times, or of potential historic/long-term importance. The mandatory use of this standard does not apply to temporary or intermediate data; however, the standard must be used to document the steps taken to create the final data files.

The Biological Data Profile of the CSDGM Version 2 is designed to document biological data sets, both geospatial and non-geospatial in nature and includes all the elements in the CSDGM, as well as additional elements to describe biological data sets. The adopted Service standard for Biological 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.

Overview on Geospatial Metadata - information and links to FGDC standards, training opportunities, available training materials, and USGS metadata FAQ's.

Initial Approval Date
August 31, 1998
Revision Approval Date
Date of Distribution to FWS Directorate
Validation Date
November 29, 2013
Data Steward Chief Data Officer


Last updated: May 9, 2019