Through the years, more and more people are recognizing the advantages of metadata. Metadata, from the term itself, is used to provide description and/or details to specific information, be it a data, a file or a program. It is widely used by a lot of applications and gadgets, such as Microsoft Office programs, music and video players, cameras and other digital devices. The list of uses does not stop as metadata is now being used as objects that have an implicit or explicit geographic extent. Such objects are associated with some position on the surface of the earth and may be stored in a geographic information system (GIS). These may also come in images, datasets, documents or other related items that exist in some other native environment. With these items at hand, geographic features may be appropriate to describe in a metadata catalogue (also known as data inventory and data directory etc.). Such metadata is called geospatial metadata (also known as geographical metadata).
There are a lot of reasons as to why there is a need to use geospatial metadata. Here are some of them: (a) enable effective management of resources; (b) concisely describe datasets and other resources; (c) serve as a record in a searchable catalogue of datasets; (d) provide an online interface to a dataset and link to other information; (e) properly documented datasets are less likely duplicated; (f) corporate knowledge and investments are preserved; and (g) accompany a dataset when it is transferred thereby its proper use will be fully understood and recognized. These are the common functions of geospatial metadata and definitely a lot more will be added as time passes by.