Recording metadata - journey from inception to maps and beyond

Each habitat mapping study has a number of phases from the initial planning phase through to the survey itself, data processing and interpretation and on to the final map production.  For the data in this process, metadata should be added at each stage to document the data as it passes through each stage.  Often, however, the datasets from a single survey will have a life beyond the map production stage and end up in different places (organisations, databases, web portals) and be used for other studies. It is important that all the (relevant) metadata accompanies the dataset as it moves along this journey and from place to place.
The figure below (Phases in the life of a data) provides an overview of the different phases in the life of a dataset; the first two (pre-field and field) have been linked to the levels in the Survey organisation model (see How do I collect my data?), with all phases linked to the relevant chapter in the MESH Guide. A more detailed portrayal of the relationship between the phases, the survey model, subsequent data processing, archiving and re-use is explained in How do I collect my data (see also Metadata Model). In the spreadsheet (Metadata Model), individual samples taken during a survey (e.g. a video tow) are linked both with other data at the same station and survey and with similar types of sample as they get processed following the survey, subsequently archived, contributed to national datasets and then used in other studies.
GMHM1-33 Life of a dataset.png
Phases in the life of a dataset, showing relationship to elements of the Survey structure and to Chapters in the MESH Guide
The spreadsheet also shows the relationship of this process to other databases developed in MESH:
  • Metadata catalogue – a catalogue of habitat maps and related datasets. The catalogue includes entries for datasets and products (maps) emanating from single surveys, together with records of corporate and national databases, and products derived from these larger data sources.
  • Survey database – a database used for planning surveys, which provides information relating to the Survey and Area parts of the metadata model.
Links to other chapters:

All material variously copyrighted by MESH project partners 2004-2010

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