This section contains FAQs on the ANZLIC Metadata Profile.

These questions are taken from the consultation period for the ANZLIC Metadata Profile. They will be added to as agencies implement the Profile and other queries arise.

What is geospatial metadata?
Metadata are structured facts that describe information, or information services. Metadata facilitates many things beyond enabling cataloguing; it also informs appropriate use of products and services.

Metadata for geospatial information is required for a range of purposes including:
  • discovery
  • assessment to determine fitness for use
  • access
  • use
  • transfer
  • management.
Typically metadata for data discovery purposes represents a minimum amount of information required to convey to the enquirer the nature and content of the data resource. This falls into broad categories that answer the "what, when, who, where and how" questions about geospatial data:
  • What – title and description of the dataset
  • When – when the dataset was created and the update cycle, if any.
  • Who – dataset originator or creator and supplier
  • Where – the geographical extent of the dataset based on latitude / longitude coordinates, geographical names or administrative areas
  • How – how to obtain more information about the dataset, how to order the dataset, available formats, access constraints etc.
What is geospatial metadata used for?
Among other things, metadata may be used to provide:
  • information about the accuracy of source datasets, processing history, and archival procedures that is required to effectively manage and utilise data within custodian organisations
  • information about data/map projection specifications, scale, exchange format, compression and file system
  • format that should accompany data transfers to other organisations
  • adequate descriptions of the content, quality and geographic extent of datasets that are required so potential users of existing data can assess its suitability for their own purposes
  • summary descriptions of content and quality, as well as contact information, that are required for inclusion in directory systems
  • detailed information about data collection methods, integration and analysis techniques applied to source data that is required to support the preparation of scientific reports
  • information about access software for datasets as well as software parameters that are needed for direct online display and query of data.
Metadata records are typically published in an online catalogue for internal or public use (as a component of a spatial data infrastructure) or accompany data files for customer delivery.
Why is geospatial metadata needed?
The New Zealand government has made it clear that it wants easier discovery of, and access to, government data and information. The reason for this is not only to capture significant efficiencies for the way government works but also so businesses and individuals can re-use and value-add with respect to government data and information. The provision of geospatial metadata has a key part to play in making that happen for government’s geospatial datasets.

Geospatial metadata gives business benefits that will:
  • provide data producers with appropriate information to consistently record the characteristics of their resources
  • enable the organisation and management of metadata
  • enable users to apply geospatial data in the most effective way by knowing their basic characteristics and assessing whether a resource is suitable for their intended purpose
  • enable and encourage data discovery, retrieval and re-use and thereby improve the return on investment in geospatial information resources (the report Spatial Information in the New Zealand economy: Realising Productivity Gains identified metadata as a necessary component to facilitate such productivity gains)
  • provide a best practice e-GIF metadata standard for geospatial information.
More widespread creation of standardised geospatial metadata using the ANZLIC profile will also align well with:
  • the New Zealand Geospatial Strategy which has identified standardised metadata as a requirement to help achieve the goals of improved access and interoperability (in the context of spatial data infrastructure and data catalogue initiatives endorsed by the Geospatial Executives Group)
  • recent ICT Ministerial Group directives regarding Open Government Information and Data Re-use
  • the Digital New Zealand strategy goal to increase access to, and use of, the country’s digital assets.
Widespread use of the profile will not only facilitate interoperability within and between New Zealand agencies and jurisdictions, but also within the region and internationally, by providing a consistent basis for communicating information about resources. It is important to note that, while primarily used to describe digital geographic data, the profile is not restricted to describing such resources only. Other resources that can be described include maps, charts, textual documents and non-geographic resources.
What is ISO and OGC?
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) includes ISO/TC 211, which is an international, technical committee for geographic information. The work of ISO/TC 211 focuses on the development of a structured range of standards (ISO 191xx Standards) for information about phenomena that are directly or indirectly related to the earth.

These standards specify the methods, tools and services for geospatial information, to be used for data management (including definitions and description), acquiring, processing, analysing, accessing, portrayal and transition in digital/electronic format between various users, systems and locations. Where possible, the work is linked to general ICT standards and gives a framework for the development of sector specific applications for the use of geospatial information.

Norway holds the secretariat of ISO/TC 211 - 32 countries are participating members, including New Zealand (through Standards New Zealand) while 31 members receive proceedings and documentation. There are many external linkages for example, with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).

OGC is an international industry consortium of 386 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface standards. These support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream information technology (IT). The standards empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications.

The metadata standards that ISO/TC 211 has developed for geographic information are ISO 19115:2005, its corrigendum (ISO 19115:2003/Cor.1:2006 Technical Corrigendum 1), and ISO 19139:2007 for implementation.
What is e-GIF?
The e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) is a collection of policies and standards (including geospatial standards) endorsed for New Zealand government IT systems. The e-GIF is administered by the State Services Commission (SSC) and has the following benefits:
  • helps government agencies more easily work together electronically
  • makes systems, knowledge and experience reusable from one agency to another
  • reduces the effort required to deal with government online by encouraging consistency of approach.
The e-GIF applies to state sector agencies but local government and Crown research institutes are encouraged to use the standards and private industry is free to use them as well.

The status of e-GIF standards can be Under Development, Recommended (generally more recent, founded on newer technologies or standards) or Adopted (mandatory as well established in public sector ICT systems).
What was the previous e-GIF geospatial metadata standard and why was it replaced?
The previous e-GIF geospatial metadata standard was the New Zealand Geospatial Metadata Standard (NZGMS) which was developed in 2004. NZGMS is based on the version of standard ISO 19115, Geographic Information – Metadata available at the time. This standard has since been enhanced and subsequently used as the basis for the ANZLIC Metadata Profile.

Concerns with NZGMS included:
  • not being maintained with more recent ISO enhancements
  • not being implemented widely since it became an e-GIF standard
  • not being supported with any open tool to support the creation or editing of metadata
  • not being supported with an encoding schema to validate for conformance.
What is ANZLIC and what does it do?
The Australia New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC) comprises ten senior officials from the Australian and New Zealand Governments, and the governments of the States and Territories of Australia. They are generally responsible within their jurisdiction for coordinating spatial information policy and operational matters. New South Wales currently chairs ANZLIC. The Council meets three times per year.

ANZLIC develops consistent policies and guidelines (using technical working groups and committees) to minimise barriers to spatial data and services wherever possible. These policies and guidelines adopt international best practice in spatial data and metadata management and are relevant to conditions found by practitioners and users of spatial information in both Australia and New Zealand.
What is the ANZLIC Metadata Profile and what is it based on?
The ANZLIC Metadata Profile V1.1 was published in 2007. It was developed as a single Geographic Metadata Profile for Australia and New Zealand by a technical working group comprising representatives from Australian and New Zealand jurisdictions. The Profile is based on ISO 19115:2005, its corrigendum (ISO 19115:2003/Cor.1:2006 Technical Corrigendum 1), and ISO 19139:2007 for implementation. These standards have been developed by the ISO/TC 211 geographic information committee.

The international standard ISO 19115:2005 has also been reviewed by Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand and adopted as AS/NZS ISO 19115:2005 Geographic Information – Metadata.

Other geospatial communities have developed their own profiles based on ISO 19115, for example:
  • INSPIRE Metadata Profile (INfrastructure for SPatial Information in Europe)
  • North American Metadata Profile (Canada and USA)
  • Latin American Metadata Profile (Latin American countries).
The ANZLIC Metadata Profile is basically the same as the parent standards above except that it changes the requirement for a fileIdentifier to be mandatory (it is optional in the national/international standard). This important change addresses the following implementation issues:
  • to uniquely identify the metadata record (if there are many copies of this record then these copies can be identified using the fileIdentifier)
  • to identify a child-parent relationship between metadata records using the parentIdentifier and fileIdentifier.
The ANZLIC Profile defines:
  • mandatory and conditional metadata sections, metadata entities, and metadata elements
  • the minimum set of metadata elements for any resource in order to conform to the Profile
  • the recommended core metadata for geographic datasets
  • optional metadata elements that allow for a more extensive standard description of resources
  • the option to extend the Profile to cater for specialised needs
  • a data mapping to New Zealand Government Locator Service (NZGLS) metadata.
What is minimum and core metadata under the ANZLIC Profile?
The minimum set of elements are those elements that are either mandatory or become mandatory under certain conditions.

A table listing minimum elements is on page 366 of the ANZLIC Metadata Profile Guidelines V1.2 and an example metadata file using the minimum elements is on page 312.

What is referred to as core metadata comprises the minimum set of metadata elements plus additional elements identified by ANZLIC that will enhance the description of geographic datasets, in particular for discovery. ANZLIC strongly recommends the completion of core metadata for geographic datasets.

A table listing core elements is on page 369 of the ANZLIC Metadata Profile Guidelines and an example metadata file using the minimum elements is on page 316.
What resources are available to agencies using the ANZLIC Metadata Profile?
Both ANZLIC and LINZ are committed to providing guidance resources and ongoing support for the ANZLIC Metadata Profile.

The ANZLIC Spatial Resources Discovery and Access Toolkit ('ANZMet Toolkit') has been developed to support the implementation of the ANZLIC Metadata Profile. The ANZMet Toolkit comprises a suite of resources that support the creation and publication of ANZLIC-compliant metadata, including:
  • ANZLIC Metadata Profile Short User Guide
  • ANZMet Lite Tool (including Quickstart and Short User Manual)
  • Instructions on how to publish metadata (work is underway related to a New Zealand geospatial/environmental data catalogue)
  • Educational Resources Library.
If an ESRI software user has an Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) including ArcGIS Server products then the ANZLIC Metadata Profile functionality in the GeoPortal Server Extension for ArcGIS Server is included at no additional charge. For other ArcGIS Server users, charges apply, and for more information contact Eagle Technology (, 0800-7-EAGLE (0800-732-453)).

In August 2009, three metadata workshops were held in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland under the auspices of ANZLIC and coordinated by LINZ. The workshops introduced the guidance resources above including the ANZMet Lite Tool.

Subsequent to the August 2009 workshops, LINZ has been providing ongoing support through its 0800 number (0800 665 463) for the ANZMet Lite Tool and for the ANZLIC Metadata Profile.

LINZ also spoke on geospatial metadata at the 2009 ESRI Users Group and MapInfo Users Group conferences in Wellington in November 2009. LINZ has recently given presentations with information about geospatial metadata to regional GIS User Groups in Invercargill and Whangarei. If your regional GIS User Group is interested in a presentation from LINZ about geospatial metadata contact LINZ via 0800 665 463 or

LINZ has a representative on ANZLIC's Spatial Resources Discovery and Access Program Steering Committee, which oversaw the development of the resources above. The Steering Committee will continue to monitor ISO geospatial metadata standards developments and update the ANZLIC Metadata Profile where appropriate.
Last Updated: 4 April 2019