FAQ - GeoPlatform Formats

Direct Access to Data

Data.gov and the GeoPlatform depend on operational, direct links to provide users access to available resources and associated information. The primary mission of Data.gov and the GeoPlatform is to connect users with data. As such, a direct access URL to the data download is required when available. (FGDC Technical Guidance).

To determine the type of resource in a metadata record, GeoPlatform uses the resource’s format name. Without a format name, GeoPlatform displays the link to the resources but treats the resource as unknown. For NGDA’s, with cacheable resources, this resource will not be cached. For more information see the Data Pipeline FAQ.

Resource format names

To help users discover and use resources, it is recommended that metadata authors use common short names to name the data formats in their metadata. A user searching for a “Shapefile” won’t easily find all of the potential resources if the format name isn’t used consistently. As an example, there are more than 30 variations of the “Esri Shapefile” such as “Shapefile”, “zip shapefile”, “Shape”, “Shape File”, etc.

One source for raster and vector common short names is from GDAL’s (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library) documentation. GDAL is a translator library for raster and vector geospatial data formats.

Example showing Shapefile and SHP format names

ISO 19139 DistributionInfo XML Example:

<gco:CharacterString>Esri Shapefile</gco:CharacterString> </gmd:name>
<gmd:version gco:nilReason="unknown"/> </gmd:MD\_Format>

https://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/wiki/images/e/e7/MD_DistributionInformation.png ## More information