GRASS GIS always has been lacking proper meta data support. But that has changed with the (relative) new wx.metadata add-on, which includes advanced tools for metadata management according to ISO 19115. It was developed during the Google Summer Code 2014 by Matej Krejci and is available through g.extension for GRASS GIS 7.1. The main tool to create or edit meta data is the g.gui.metadata function.
Below I’ll walk you through the main steps to get and use this tool. For a more detailed explanation of the different options available in wx.metadata and the installation requirements, see the grass wiki page.
You can get the add-on with g.extension:
Next, look for the wx.metadata extension and install it:
You can now run g.gui.metadata by typing in the command console (1) the name of the function (2):
This will open the metadata editor:
First select the metadata template you want to use (currently you can choose between a basic GRASS template and the INSPIRE based template). Templates are based on ISO 19115:2003 and are meant to describe the identification, the extent, the quality, the spatial and temporal scheme, spatial reference, and distribution of the selected data layer:
The default location to store the metadata is the folder metadata in the mapset folder. You can change that by clicking on the workdir icon:
Now you can look up the data layer for which you want to create or edit the metadata. If there is already a metadata file associated to this layer, you will be asked if you want to overwrite the existing metadata:
After selecting the layer and pressing the ‘edit’ button, you’ll see a new screen with various tabs representing different groups of meta data. Some fields are already filled in, information taken from the standard layer information kept in the GRASS database, while hovering over any of the fields will give you an information screen with a description and example of the type of information required (the black box in the screenshot below).
As last steps, you can validate the metadata you just filled in (1) and save the metadata to the GRASS database (2) so it will be associated to the data layer or save it as an xml file to another location so you can easily share it (3):
Creating and maintaining meta data isn’t exactly my favourite activity. But it is an important one if you want to share your data with others. And with this metadata tool it is at least a lot less cumbersome that it used to be.