ArcNews Online

Spring 2002
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ArcIMS and ArcGIS Combine to Bring Spatial Metadata to the Internet

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The Metadata Explorer browser application is delivered with ArcIMS and can be used to search any metadata server.

One of the most significant features included in ArcIMS 4 is the ability to create a central, online metadata repository that facilitates publishing and browsing metadata over the Internet. With ArcIMS Metadata Services, metadata can easily be published and quickly searched. The user also has full control over who can publish their metadata and what metadata the server contains.

ArcIMS Metadata Services are made up of the ArcIMS Spatial Server combined with data residing in a relational database. The data in this database is accessed using ArcSDE, which is required to use ArcIMS Metadata Services.

Along with ArcIMS software's Metadata Services, users also receive the Metadata Explorer, which is a Java Server Pages (JSP) application that can be used to build a customized, browser-based means of searching for metadata. Searching for metadata is quick and efficient because users can perform searches based on any combination of geographic extent, content type, data format, or keyword. As with the Geography Network, the user can view the title, abstract, and thumbnail of the documents in the search results and choose to view the full metadata for any documents of interest.

ArcIMS Metadata Services are an important example of how Esri is more closely linking ArcIMS and ArcGIS. Metadata that is published to the ArcIMS Metadata Server is created through the ArcCatalog application in ArcGIS 8.2. Using ArcCatalog, metadata can be easily created, used, managed, and published. Users can create metadata automatically and update it with the data's current properties, preview metadata in a variety of presentation formats, and manage metadata as an integral component of their GIS.

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Users can search the ArcIMS Metadata catalog from a clearinghouse (Z39.50 clients), ArcCatalog software's Search tool, or the browser-based Metadata Explorer.

By default, ArcCatalog stores metadata in an Extensible Markup Language (XML) representation of the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata. (Users also have the option to employ the proposed ISO Metadata Content Standard with new support added in ArcGIS 8.2.) Users also have the ability to customize the appearance of the metadata documents, since they are in XML format. The ArcIMS Metadata Server can read any XML document that is published to it. Metadata publishers can simply drag and drop their metadata documents from ArcCatalog to the metadata server of their choice. Through ArcIMS and ArcSDE, the metadata is automatically stored and indexed in a relational database. The metadata documents stored in an ArcIMS Metadata Server can then be accessed using any client that communicates using ArcXML (such as ArcCatalog or the Metadata Explorer) or using Z39.50. Z39.50 is a national standard that defines a protocol for computer-to-computer information retrieval.

When a search is initiated, the ArcIMS Metadata Server accesses the data using ArcSDE and returns the results of the search in an easy-to-read format. After reviewing the metadata documents found by a search, users can decide which data sets are most appropriate for their projects. Users wanting to use a particular data service can add it directly to the ArcMap application of ArcGIS 8.2.

For more information, visit or call Esri at 1-800-447-9778, call your Esri regional office, or contact your local reseller. Outside the United States, please contact your local Esri distributor.

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