Ocean – Quick Reference

1) Q: How do I upload metadata into Data.gov?


Federal Agencies:

Data.gov is organized into separate catalogs to provide access to three classes of published, publicly accessible federal data and related access tools and services: “raw” data, geodata and applications, each with specific distinguishing characteristics.

Although the selection criteria, approval, and submission process differ by department and agency, the following highlights the Data.gov submission process.

  • Nomination of data or application
    • Although any individual or organization may suggest a dataset or application for promotion to Data.gov, primary responsibility rests with the data steward(s) responsible for its availability and management.
  • Determination of suitability and initial selection
    • Initial selection of nominated datasets and/or applications depends on analysis of their suitability. Suitability is determined by meeting all of the criteria set forth in the Data.gov Data Policy.
  • Preparation and submission of metadata
    • “Raw” data and Applications

For individual or groups of datasets and applications, a standard metadata template is available via the Data.gov Dataset Management System (DMS) at https://dms.data.gov/ . Completed records are most often submitted by an appointed data steward.


Federal geodata records are entered into the geo.data.gov catalog in fully FDGC-compliant form, where they will then be “flagged” for inclusion in ocean.data.gov. For information on the appropriate metadata standard, visit the Metadata Requirements section.

  • Internal review and certification for publication
    • All metadata submitted through the DMS are reviewed by either the department/agency POC or the Geodata POC
  • Data.gov Review and Approval
    • Publication in Data.gov is a multi-step process which requires several approvals and certifications. The following outlines the approval process:
      • Agency/Line Office and/or Geodata POC
      • Agency/Department POC
      • Data.gov Program Management Office (PMO) POC

For more information, contact your department, agency, or line office metadata steward.


Changes are currently being made to accommodate non-federal spatial data and information. The process for uploading metadata to be represented in Data.gov is in development.

2) Q: How do I publish a catalog so that my metadata becomes part of the system?

A: Metadata can be submitted and harvested through a semi-automated process or through the use of federal catalogs. The following types of catalogs are accepted by Data.gov:

  • Web Accessible Folder (WAF)
    • An HTTP accessible directory of files, typically metadata files in XML format in which all files and their time-stamps are visible to a web browser or client
  • Z39.50 Protocol
    • A client-server protocol used for searching and retrieving information from remote computer database, the Z39.50 protocol syntax supports the search, retrieval, sort, and browsing of information.

More information: ANSI/NISO Z39.50 Specification

  • OGC OpenGIS Catalogue Service for Web (CS-W)
    • The OGC Catalog Service defines and utilizes common interfaces to discover, browse, and query metadata about data, services, and other resources. More information – OGC Specification
    • Open Archives Initiative – Protocol for Metadata Harvesting
      • The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) provides an application-independent interoperability framework based on metadata harvesting. For implementation guidelines and additional information, visit http://www.openarchives.org/pmh/

3) Q: Which metadata standards should be used to document my agency/organizations data holdings?

A: As described in the “How do I upload metadata into Data.gov” section above, certain metadata restrictions apply differently to “raw” data and applications and geodata. For more information on recommended metadata standards, visit the Metadata Requirements section.

4) Q: How do I make my data accessible to Ocean.data.gov?

A: There are two options for making your data accessible to Ocean.data.gov:

  • Metadata discovery
    • Using the information and recommendations for metadata standards, available here, data stewards and providers should ensure that a link to the original, authoritative dataset is provided.
    • Web Services
      • Ocean.data.gov can provide direct access to web services. For information on common web mapping service standards and data publishing considerations, visit the Data Publishing and Exchange section.

5) Q: If my metadata has been submitted to and accepted by Geospatial One-Stop, will it be automatically searchable within Data.gov?

A: Yes. If your Federal dataset has been accepted by Geospatial One-Stop as well as flagged and approved through the approval/certification process (see Question above), these data should be searchable within Data.gov. If your dataset is from a non-Federal source, it is now available through Geoplatform.gov.

6) Q: How can I provide input to the ocean community?

A: Please visit the Feedback form.