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pygeometa is a Python package to generate metadata for geospatial datasets

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pygeometa is a Python package to generate metadata for geospatial datasets.

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pygeometa is a Python package to generate metadata for geospatial datasets. Metadata content is managed by pygeometa in simple Metadata Control Files (MCF) which consist of 'parameter = value' pairs. pygeometa generates metadata records from MCFs based on the schema specified by the user, such as ISO19139, associated profiles, and WMO WIGOS. pygeometa supports nesting MCFs, which reduces duplication of metadata content common to multiple records and ease maintenance.


  • simple YAML-based configuration
  • extensible: template architecture allows for easy addition of new metadata formats
  • flexible: use as a command-line tool or integrate as a library


Workflow to generate metadata XML:

  1. Install pygeometa
  2. Create a 'metadata control file' .yml file that contains metadata information
  3. Modify the sample.yml example
  4. pygeometa supports nesting MCFs together, allowing providing a single MCF for common metadata parameters (e.g. common contact information)
  5. Refer to the Metadata Control File Reference documentation
  6. Run pygeometa for the .yml file with a specified target metadata schema


pygeometa is best installed and used within a Python virtualenv.


  • Python 3 and above. Works with Python 2.7
  • Python virtualenv package


Dependencies are listed in requirements.txt. Dependencies are automatically installed during pygeometa's installation.

Installing the Package

virtualenv -p python3 my-env
cd my-env
. bin/activate
git clone
cd pygeometa
python build
python install


From the command line

pygeometa generate-metadata --mcf=path/to/file.yml --schema=iso19139  # to stdout
pygeometa generate-metadata --mcf=path/to/file.yml --schema=iso19139 --output=some_file.xml  # to file
pygeometa generate-metadata --mcf=path/to/file.yml --schema=iso19139 --output=some_file.xml --verbosity=DEBUG # add verbose (ERROR, WARNING, INFO, DEBUG)
# to use your own defined schema:
pygeometa generate-metadata --mcf=path/to/file.yml --schema_local=/path/to/my-schema --output=some_file.xml  # to file

Supported schemas

Schemas supported by pygeometa:

Using the API from Python

from pygeometa.core import render_template
# default schema
xml_string = render_template('/path/to/file.yml', schema='iso19139')
# user-defined schema
xml_string = render_template('/path/to/file.yml', schema_local='/path/to/new-schema')
# dictionary representation of YAML
xml_string = render_template(yaml_dict, schema='iso19139')
with open('output.xml', 'w') as ff:
# render from an MCF stored in a string
mcf_string = '...'  # some string
xml_string = render_template_string(mcf_string, schema='iso19139')
# render from an MCF as a ConfigParser object
mcf_cp = '...'  # some ConfigParser object
xml_string = render_template_string(mcf_cp, schema='iso19139')


Migrating old MCFs to YAML

pygeometa provides a migrate utility to convert legacy MCFs into YAML:

pygeometa migrate --mcf=path/to/file.mcf  # to stdout
pygeometa migrate --mcf=path/to/file.mcf --output=some_file.yml  # to file

The migrate utility doesn't support migrating comments from legacy MCFs tox YAML MCFs.


Setting up a Development Environment

Same as installing a package. Use a virtualenv. Also install developer requirements:

pip install -r requirements-dev.txt

Adding a Metadata Schema to the Core

List of supported metadata schemas in pygeometa/templates/

To add support to new metadata schemas:

cp -r pygeometa/templates/iso19139 pygeometa/templates/new-schema

Then modify *.j2 files in the new pygeometa/templates/new-schema directory to comply to new metadata schema.

Running Tests

# via distutils
python test
# manually
cd tests

Code Conventions

Bugs and Issues

All bugs, enhancements and issues are managed on GitHub.


Started in 2009, pygeometa originated within an internal project called pygdm, which provided generic geospatial data management functions. pygdm (now end of life) was used for generating MSC/CMC geospatial metadata. pygeometa was pulled out of pygdm to focus on the core requirement of generating geospatial metadata within a real-time environment and automated workflows.

In 2015 pygeometa was made publically available in support of the Treasury Board Policy on Acceptable Network and Device Use.


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