I have been searching for sources of GIS data specifications to assist with documenting a number of datasets that I'm currently working on. I'm used to looking at Ordnance Survey specifications, such as the one located here: http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/docs/technical-specifications/os-mastermap-water-layer-technical-specification.pdf.

I'm guessing that a good specification will be one which is independent of applications and formats, and describes the data in the detail which is necessary for its purpose and intended audience.

Are there any resources to assist with the creation of GIS data specifications? Is there an industry standard way to do them so that they can be easily understood by both users and GIS developers? I'd also be interested to know what kind of documentation people do generally create for datasets which are to be widely used within their organisations.

Many thanks.

3 Answers 3


For European dataset, you should have a look at the INSPIRE directive. It is primarily for environmental data, but this is view in the broad sense. Each thematic has its own documents. You can also have a look at the ISO 19105 standard.


Have you looked at the SDSFIE standard? Lots of documentation and tools available for this DOD data model...


Here is a document specific to an organization I use to work for. It was for in-house data management which you might find useful for your organization.

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