Spatial Data Directories
A spatial data directory enables a user to find a dataset, to assess its suitability for the proposed use and to gain access to the dataset. The directory may also enable the user to preview the data, to order the data via the web and even download the data directory via the web.
Metadata are structured facts that describe information, or information services. Metadata facilitates may things beyond enabling information discovery and access; it also informs about the appropriate use of products or services. Metadata is applicable to anything, not just geographic information. For example, your business card is metadata about you.
The ANZLIC Metadata Entry Tool supports the collection of metadata consistent with the ANZLIC metadata guidelines (PDF File). The metadata may be published in the Australian Spatial Data Directory. This software is free.
Australian Spatial Data Directory
The Australian Spatial Data Directory (ASDD), a national initiative supported by all governments under the auspices of the Australia New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC). The ASDD enables a user to simultaneously search spatial directories maintained by Commonwealth agencies, States and Territories, and commercial organisations.
A key objective of the ANZLIC strategic plan is to promote the development of the Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure (ASDI) which will improve access to and availability of nationally consistent spatial datasets. The ASDD is an essential component of the ASDI and incorporate information about datasets (metadata) from all jurisdictions.
The technology being used for the ASDD is the Z39.50 search and retrieval protocol which when combined with the World Wide Web provides a simple method of searching, discovery and retrieval of spatial data. For further information, visit ERIN's Technical Documentation site.
This technology means metadata is maintained at the custodian's node or at a node that has a strong business relationship with the custodian. Thus the resultant spatial directory, as it is maintained at one or several sites, should be current. The directory, providing Z39.50 technology is used, is freely available and able to be accessed across different platforms, disciplines and from around the world.
In practice there could be several directory interfaces available at a number of web sites around Australia, all linking to a larger number of coordinated directories. These directory interfaces could be identical or be modified to meet particular industry needs (e.g. the marine environment).