ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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U.S. and Canada Develop Regional Profile of International Standard on Geographic Information Metadata

New York, Jul 10, 2009

Through a joint initiative of the United States and Canada, the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) and the Canadian General Standards Board – Committee on Geomatics (CGSB-COG) have published a regional profile of an International Standard on geographic information metadata. INCITS 453-2009 – the North American Profile (NAP) of ISO 19115, Geographic information – Metadata – will facilitate the development, sharing, and use of geographical information and related applications.

This regional profile development effort began with an agreement for collaboration between INCITS, a U.S.-based standards developing organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and CGSB-COG, a Canadian federal government organization and standards development entity accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).

Geographic metadata is a term used to describe the characteristics of data collected about the earth and its land, features, phenomena, and inhabitants. These characteristics may include the time and location of data collection, or other attributes of the data. ISO 19115, published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), guides users in how to provide geographic metadata, including contents, spatial-temporal purchases, data quality, access, and rights to use.

With the help of volunteers in the field, the United States and Canada gathered the geographic metadata content that was needed to develop a profile of ISO 19115 specific to North American needs. A cooperative approach marked the development of the NAP, with periodic co-located meetings, as well as public reviews by experts in the metadata community.

Through this collaborative initiative, the NAP of ISO 19115 will allow users to consistently and effectively catalog traditional geographic datasets and dataset series for the United States and Canada.

As an ANSI-accredited standards developer, INCITS develops voluntary consensus standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in a manner that is open and balanced. INCITS also serves as the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO/IEC JTC 1 and ISO Technical Committee (TC) 211, Geographic information/Geomatics. INCITS assigns its TAG responsibilities to its Technical Committees: subgroup L1 focuses on Geographic Information Systems and is delegated TAG responsibility for the ISO TC 211 area of work, the international committee responsible for the ISO 19115 standard.

“The most positive part of this experience was that both nations were allowed to work independently, using their own processes and procedures, and yet cooperatively achieve a common, interoperable result at a higher level than either nation could achieve on its own,” said INCITS L1 chair Richard Pearsall.

For more information on the North American Profile of ISO 19115, see the INCITS press release. To purchase the NAP, visit

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