Frequently Asked Questions

What's the value of geodata.govt.nz?

Who is geodata.govt.nz for?

What types of resources are catalogued on geodata.govt.nz?

Does geodata.govt create metadata that complies with the ANZLIC Metadata Profile?

How does geodata.govt.nz relate to other catalogues, such as data.govt?

Can I search for records in geodata.govt.nz within my own catalogue/GIS?

What is metadata and why do we need it?

Are catalogues out-dated?

What is the ANZLIC Metadata Profile?

Who's leading geodata.govt.nz?

Do I have to provide open access to data I hold if I describe it in geodata.govt.nz?

What if I already have metadata/described the data I hold?

Why should I describe data or other resources my agency holds?

What software is geodata.govt.nz built with?

Can I support the ongoing development of geodata.govt.nz?

How can I use geodata.govt.nz?

What if a metadata record uploaded or harvested has completed more elements from the ANZLIC Metadata Profile than provided in the interface provided by geodata.govt?

Can I use geodata.govt.nz to find 100% of datasets and resources?

What if I'm having problems uploading XML files of existing metadata?

What's the value of geodata.govt.nz?

The value of data, especially geospatial data, is in sharing it and using it with other data sets. No matter how accurate your data is – it’s of no value if locked away and out of the reach of a wider community. Significant additional value can be derived from using government information resources for uses outside what they were collected for. In addition, if we can find what resources already exist we can make informed decisions about what new data needs to be produced, and where savings can be made from reusing existing data.

The benefits of being able to discover data come from people being able to reuse this information, and include:

  • major cost savings for helping researchers to avoid re-collecting the same or very similar data
  • new insight can be gained by using new techniques to analyse existing data
  • bringing together or ‘mashing’ different datasets can bring new persepective, for example mapping socio-economic data against ecological data, or adding new variables to simulation models (such as climate change impacts)
  • national-scale phenomena such as the effects of climate change can be simulated at a local-scale by running local datasets with national-scale scientific models.

Who is geodata.govt.nz for?

Geodata.govt.nz is for anyone who wants to find data or other resources that have a geospatial reference, or relate to the environmental sciences.

 What types of resources are catalogued on geodata.govt.nz?

Primarily, geodata.govt describes data and other resources that have been collected by taxpayer funded organisations like government departments, and crown research institutes. Geodata.govt.nz identifies and describes data and other resources relate to New Zealand. Geodata.govt.nz allows people to describe any resources they hold in a way that complies with the ANZLIC Metadata Profile.

Given that almost all data or other resources include some reference to a place on, above, or below the Earth's surface (so are geo-referenced) - geodata.govt.nz describes material from a wide range of communities.

Geodata.govt.nz describes datasets, such as the NZ Topo 50 series, as well as individual layers of data, such as the contours on a map.

Does geodata.govt create metadata that complies with the ANZLIC Metadata Profile?

Yes. If you use geodata.govt to describe data or other resources that you hold, by completing the fields listed below you are creating ANZLIC compliant metadata:

  • all fields with a * (red asterisk)
  • any fields with a * (blue asterick) that are applicable. Note that obligation to complete some of these fields varies depending on whether you're describing a dataset or other resource.

How does geodata.govt.nz relate to other catalogues, such as data.govt?

Geodata.govt has been designed to support and interact with other catalogues, including data.govt.nz. In a web-based environment multiple catalogues exist. Data.govt.nz represents a 'whole of government' catalogue of data. Individual communities of interest, such as people with geo-referenced data, may have a need for catalogues with more detailed metadata. The key is to ensure all of the catalogues interact with each other by sharing common fields.

When data or another resource is loaded to an online catalogue, an individual metadata record is created by the person loading it. This record is then automatically harvested by other catalogues. Automatically harvesting metadata records within a network of catalogues ensures that metadata records are as up-to-date as the metadata record held and maintained at the information’s source.

Given that that most data is geo-referenced - geodata.govt.nz is intended to be used by many different communities, as as such has been developed to be accessible and easy to understand for people from all communities.

Can I search for records in geodata.govt.nz within my own catalogue/GIS?

Yes. You can harvest metadata records held in geodata.govt.nz into your own catalogue/GIS system using Catalog Services for the Web (CSW). To access and use this service use the following URL:

http://geodata.govt.nz/geonetwork/srv/en/csw?request=GetCapabilities&service=CSW&acceptVersions=2.0.2&acceptFormats=application.xml

What is metadata and why do we need it?

Metadata is essentially data about data. When data or information resources are created, metadata can be attached to them to describe their different properties or attributes.

This can be useful in a number of ways. One example is with data that is collected to be accurate for a particular purpose or application – metadata can be added to explain the context in which the data is accurate, so people using it are aware of its limitations. Metadata can also describe things such as ownership, when the data was collected, if it has been updated, or legal limitations on its use – to name only a few.

Are catalogues out-dated?

Search engines, such as Google, have revolutionised how we find things. However, we are not yet at the stage where machines are able to make sense of all data and other resources that may be exposed to the web. Catalogues serve a vital function by making data and other resources able to be ‘found’, accessed and understood.

What is the ANZLIC Metadata Profile?

The ANZLIC Metadata Profile is part of the E-government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) and is the metadata standard recommended by government . A full description can be found here.

Who's leading geodata.govt.nz?

Geodata.govt.nz has been developed by New Zealand Geospatial Office (NZGO) with support from the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI) and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

Geodata.govt.nz is a core part of the New Zealand Geospatial Office's work to develop a national spatial data infrastructure. Being able to find geospatial information is a key part of the Central to the New Zealand Geospatial Strategy is work to make New Zealand’s geospatial information easy to find, share and use.. Geodata.govt also supports other government priorities to improve public access to data and information held by government.

Do I have to provide open access to data I hold if I describe it in geodata.govt.nz?

No. This is simply a catalogue - a directory like the Yellow Pages, where people can discover what geospatial and environmental information exists.

If your data is already freely accessible you can put in a web-link if it's web-available, or when people contact you, you can provide them with access however you choose.

What if I already have metadata/described the data I hold?

If you have already have created metadata that complies with the ANZLIC Metadata Profile, you can simply copy and paste a file of your metadata in XML format into the import existing metadata records field. Note you need to copy the plain XML file.

If you or your organisation already have metadata that complies with the ANZLIC Metadata Profile in a web-based catalogue, contact us so your metadata can be found in geodata.govt via automatic harvesting of metadata.

Why should I describe data or other resources my agency holds?

The more datasets that are described in the catalogue, the more that can be found. If we all describe what we hold - we will all benefit from having as complete a catalogue as possible. See section on "What's the value of geodata.govt.nz?"

What software is geodata.govt.nz built with?

The user friendly interface was built using the SilverStripe - Open Source CMS/Framework by Silverstripe themselves. In the backend, geodata.govt.nz (site) uses a specialised (Free and Open Source Software, FOSS) open source catalogue software (ANZ MEST, v.1.4.8), a third party system which enables geodata.govt.nz to support various Metadata formats and standards.

ANZ MEST is a branch of GeoNetwork software that was adapted by Simon Pigot with funding from the Australian government suitable for use in Australia and New Zealand. GeoNetwork software is open source and used throughout the world for cataloguing (refer the Gallery on the GeoNetwork Opensource site), including by the Australian government and the United Kingdom. Geonetwork was selected given that it supports various open standards, including the ANZLIC Metadata Profile and Catalog Service for Web (CS-W).

A recent review by the Federal Geographic Data Committee in the United States rates GeoNetwork favourably as a cataloguing tool for use in a federated web environment.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have reused the tool (Silverstripe is also Free and Open Source Software, FOSS) in various websites, including Oceans Survey 20/20 Portal, the NZ Marine Biosecurity portal, and more are being developed.

We are keen for this catalogue package we have developed to be reused given that it supports the open standards that contribute to developing our national spatial data infrastructure. Please contact us if you would like further information/support.

If you would like to access the ANZ MEST catalogue directly, please contact us to discuss.

Can I support the ongoing development of geodata.govt.nz?

Yes. The New Zealand Geospatial Office will continue to develop geodata.govt.nz as a core part of New Zealand's developing spatial data infrastructure. Please send us your ideas about how geodata.govt could be developed further, as well as feedback on and what works well and what does not work so wellcould be improved. Geodata.govt.nz will be progressively developed through an iterative (agile) process based on your feedback.

Please tell us how we could improve the catalogue.

How can I use geodata.govt.nz?

If you or your organisation is custodian of data or other resources that are not currently able to be found via the Web, describe it here.

If you already have created metadata that complies with the ANZLIC Metadata Profile, you can simply copy and paste a file of your metadata in XML format into the import existing metadata records field.

If you or your organisation already have metadata that complies with the ANZLIC Metadata Profile in a web-based catalogue, contact us so your metadata can be found in geodata.govt via automatic harvesting of metadata.

If you are looking for interesting environmental or geospatial data that are publicly-funded, start searching.

What if a metadata record uploaded or harvested has completed more elements from the ANZLIC Metadata Profile than provided in the interface provided by geodata.govt?

The metadata records found in geodata.govt are stored in a GeoNetwork node. The GeoNetwork node can store metadata records that comprise the full set of elements from the ANZLIC Metadata Profile (if provided) - even if geodata.govt displays a subset of the complete set of elements. In an attempt to keep the interface for geodata.govt user-friendly - some elements are not displayed.

If you would like to access complete records (if provided), please either click "download Metadata XML" while viewing the details of a metadata record, or harvest metadata records held in geodata.govt.nz into your own catalogue/GIS system using Catalog Service for Web (CS-W). To access this service use this URL:

http://geodata.govt.nz/geonetwork/srv/en/csw?request=GetCapabilities&service=CSW&acceptVersions=2.0.2&acceptFormats=application.xml

 Can I use geodata.govt.nz to find 100% of datasets and resources?

Unfortunately not. We don't know the exact number of datasets and other resources that exist. The point of the geodata.govt project is to find out what's out there.

We're working to increase the number of datasets and resource. However, if you hold a dataset or other resource that is not catalogued - please describe it, import it, or contact us with a service URL for harvesting automatically.

Don't worry if you can't find a dataset or other resource. It may exist - but simply hasn't been described or published openly to catalogues, such as geodata.govt.

 What if I'm having problems uploading XML files of existing metadata?

In order to upload you need to upload as a plain XML file. Note if you can't copy a view that has been rendered in a application, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. For example if you copy a view of an XML file provided by Internet Explorer you see a "-" in front of some tags, such as -<gmd:MD_Metadata...

The '-' is invalid and has been added by the viewer you are using to collapse/expand sections in the XML document. Adding such content to the XML document are not valid according to the XML definition.

You have to open the XML document in a editor, such as notepad, that shows you the plain text. In other cases you can also open the source-code view in your browser to view the actual xml document.