ATRAC: Easy-to-Use, Web-Based Editor for ISO 19115-2 Metadata

We recently tested NOAA’s web-based metadata editor and data archiving tool, ATRAC for developing ISO 19115-2 metadata and found it to be easy to use and able to export a metadata XML file that can be successfully harvested by the West Coast Ocean Data Portal.

It was originally designed for organizations to submit their data to one of the NOAA Data Centers: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), but it has been modified to allow any user, after requesting a free login, to create, edit, save, and validate metadata using the site.  The metadata can be exported as an ISO 19115-2 standard-compliant XML file for posting in a Web Accessible Folder (WAF) or importing directly into a metadata catalog, such as ESRI’s Geoportal.

To get started, you create a “project,” which corresponds to a metadata record.   Then you can edit that project with the web forms.   There are a set of tabs corresponding to different metadata sections on the top of the form.  Mandatory items are indicated with a red asterisk.  An example showing the top of the form is shown below:ATRAC_form_example


You can save your work as you go by clicking the Save button.   When you would like the validate the contents to make sure you’ve entered everything completely and correctly, click on the Submit button.  You will either see a green checkmark that everything validated, or a list of errors you need to correct.

If you would like to allow others to edit the metadata, you can specify that at the project level.

There are a couple items to note, specifically related to the West Coast Ocean Data Portal:

  • Item 17 on the Identification Tab, “use constraints”, does not have an asterisk indicating it is mandatory, but this information is used by the WCODP.   So, if you have any use constraints, make sure to put them here.
  • There is a place to enter URLs in the Identification tab, Item 8, however, URLs in this location are not displayed within the WCODP.   To show up in the WCODP, your download, data, service and other URLs should be entered in the Access Tab.
  • The distributor contact information is automatically populated from the first entry in Item 15 (Point of Contact) on the Identification Tab.  So, if you have multiple points of contact, make sure the first one listed is the distributor.
  • Unless you have an existing protocol for your organization, we recommend using a UUID generator, such as, to generate a unique ID for Item 1: Metadata ID on the Metadata Tab.

Try it out for yourself!   And, if you have any questions or would like a more in-depth walk-through, feel free to contact Allison Bailey, Sound GIS.