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Understanding Data

About SEED Metadata

About SEED Metadata

SEED metadata is a standard set of information collected for each dataset.

What is metadata and why is it collected?

Metadata is the information that describes the dataset such as when, how, why it was collected, any limitations on its use and how often it is updated.

You can think of it as the questions you might want to ask the person who collected the data to help you understand it.

By organising information using a common set of terminology, metadata allows datasets to be compared and categorised, not only with one another (such as when you do a search in SEED) but against environmental datasets across Australia.

How is metadata defined?

SEED follows the ANZLIC Metadata Standards for spatial datasets, which defines the minimum (as well as optimal) set of information that will be collected for each dataset. Metadata is provided to SEED by the custodians of each dataset. 

How do I see the metadata?

When you view a dataset in SEED, the information you initially see is a subset of the available metadata. The full set, called the ‘Metadata Statement’, can be accessed:

  • from the ‘Export metadata’ button on the SEED Dataset View page if this is available for your dataset, otherwise
  • under the 'Metadata Summary' heading on the SEED Dataset View page
  • from the SEED map, using the 'Metadata' link when you view a particular data feature. For more information see Finding locations and data on the map.

The Metadata Statement may be available in HTML, PDF, JSON, and/or XML format.

What metadata is collected for SEED?

Here is a list of metadata elements. Not all datasets in SEED will have every metadata element, as some are optional or only required for certain types of data.

Metadata collected for datasets in SEED (as per ANZLIC Metadata Standards)


A name given to the dataset.

File identifier

The unique identifier for the metadata file


A concise narrative free-text summary of the dataset


A free-text metadata element of the details of the organisation(s) responsible for the establishment, maintenance and distribution of the dataset.


A short free-text summary of the intentions or aims with which the dataset was created.


A metadata element giving the official jurisdiction of the publisher and dataset.

Geographic Bounding Box

The geographic bounding box contains values of the approximate longitudes and latitudes that bound the dataset.


Information about the events or the source data used in constructing the data specified by the scope or lack of knowledge about lineage


The extent contains information to give a basic description of the spatial and temporal (time) extent of the dataset

Distribution Format

This element gives the format in which the digital data can be supplied


Main theme(s) of the dataset.

Maintenance and Update Frequency

The frequency of update.

Use Limitation

The element that describes the fitness for use of the dataset or metadata


The element showing the level of detail expressed as a scale factor or a ground distance.

DQ Completeness

The element that describes the presence and absence of features, their attributes and their relationships.

Reference System

The element given the name or description of the system of spatial referencing, whether by coordinates or geographic identifiers, used in the dataset

Topic Category

The element identifying the main theme(s) of the dataset.

Metadata Date

The metadata date is the date that the metadata record was first completed or substantially completed. (It is not the date that the metadata was last updated).

Date Created

The date that the identified dataset was first acquired or created. (Note that this may differ from the "Created" date for attached resources).

Date Revised

The date that the identified was revised. (Note that this may differ from the "Data last updated" date for attached resources).

Date Published

The date that the identified dataset was first published.