I maintain metadata as I always have....inconsistently and sporadically.. I know...booh to me. Anyways, I know python can pull all kinds of info out of mxd in V10. Has anybody come up with some scripts to populate basic stuff like layers and paths to mxd metadata? Seems like this should be pretty easy, but I would really like to know if there is any reason this won't work and if anybody has written anything along these lines to get me started in the right direction.
It is definitely possible. The great thing about code is that you can do anything.
Why hasn't it been done? I dare say it's because Metadata is boring ;)
You could use the Arcgisscripting tools to extract the information that you want and save this information in an XML document with the same name as the data set. This would at least provide you with information like, Date Created, Date Modified, SRS/CRS/Projection, Location, etc. Most of which is available though the Python interface.
I would definitely have a look at XMl and XSLT as an implementation strategy. But if that is beyond your interest level then an CSV file would suffice. After all, any metadata (in a friendly format) is better than no Metadata at all.
Check out these scripts they basically walk through directories looking for geographic information in the form of shp, tif, bil and img and using the GDAL bindings extracting its extent, geometry, number of elements, projection, dbf description, user, date last modification, path, etc and writes it into an csv file.
The idea is to generate an initial list of maps to later generate metadata
We release these scripts as an open source project, and it is intended to work with the FWTools installation (only was tested in FWTools 2.4.7)
The scripts can be found in http://sourceforge.net/projects/mapoteca/