The IOOS Metadata Profile contains dataset attribution guidelines and examples to help the US IOOS community publish datasets in netCDF and other related data formats in an interoperable manner. The goal of the metadata profile is to allow users of IOOS' data services, such as ERDDAP, THREDDS, OPeNDAP, and SOS, seamless access and use across individual IOOS data providers' services.
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Current Profile Version

IOOS Metadata Profile 1.2

Looking for the latest version? Follow the link above for details on requirements to implement the IOOS Metadata Profile for publishing data according to the latest IOOS guidelines.

Profile Overview

The Profile defines recommended and required global and variable attributes for IOOS data providers to include when publishing their datasets and accompanying services.

Global and variable attributes are concepts of the netCDF specification which is ‘a set of software libraries and self-describing, machine-independent data formats that support the creation, access, and sharing of array-oriented scientific data.’

The IOOS DMAC data management system has adopted netCDF as a standard data format. These guidelines are targeted towards netCDF files, however to the degree that they can be applied to other data formats they are referred to as a generalized ‘Metadata Profile’ rather than a netCDF-specific profile. They are based on several community netCDF conventions, which each build off of each other in the following order:

Individual releases of the IOOS Metadata Profile (e.g. 1.0, 1.1, 1.2) target specific versions of each of these conventions. See below for these specific version associations.

Profile Versions:

IOOS Metadata Profile, Version 1.2 (Current)

IOOS Metadata Profile Version 1.2 (released in 2020) is the current valid profile, and is based upon the following convention versions:

IOOS data providers, including RAs and DACs are strongly encouraged to follow this profile in publishing datasets and services with ERDDAP, and also THREDDS, data servers.

Version 1.2 of the Metadata Profile targets ERDDAP as the future platform for IOOS’ in situ ocean observation data services and the eventual replacement for SOS. Thus, some non backwards-compatible divergence has been introduced, mostly changes from required to recommended, or removal of the IOOS-specific attributes necessary for translation to SOS in previous versions. The affected IOOS attributes are listed below:

  • Changed from required to recommended in Metadata Profile 1.2:
    • contributor_name
    • contributor_role
    • institution
    • publisher_name
  • Removed from Metadata Profile 1.2:
    • platform_variable:ioos_code
    • platform_variable:short_name
    • platform_variable:long_name
    • platform_variable:type
  • Change attribute names in Metadata Profile 1.2:
    • creator_zipcode to creator_postalcode
    • publisher_zipcode to publisher_postalcode

Data providers wishing to maintain ncSOS/IOOS SOS compatibility can refer to this list and add all required IOOS attributes from deprecated Metadata Profile 1.1 and or duplicate attributes where appropriate.

IOOS Metadata Profile, Version 1.1

IOOS Metadata Profile Version 1.1 (deprecated in 2019) is based upon the following convention versions:

IOOS Metadata Profile, Version 1.0

IOOS Metadata Profile Version 1.0 (deprecated in 2016) is based upon the following convention versions:

The initial versions (1.0 and 1.1) of the Metadata Profile were developed to provide a mapping between netCDF files and the IOOS SOS Profile. The Metadata Profile defined the bare minimum set of attributes data providers could include in their netCDF data files to provide the THREDDS ncSOS plugin software a comprehensive cross-walk to generate all required service metadata for the IOOS SOS Profile. While matching the IOOS SOS metadata, the Profile allows the lowest achievable divergence from the NCEI NetCDF Templates: it modifies some aspects of the Templates’ guidelines in particular a restriction to a single platform-per-dataset, and it includes the Templates’ attributes and augments them with a small number of IOOS-specific attributes, marked as convention type IOOS in the guidance tables.

Compliance Checker:

The IOOS Compliance Checker is a Python tool and library that can be used to verify a data provider’s datasets comply with the IOOS Metadata Profile, as well as the community conventions listed above. The Compliance Checker can be installed and run on the command line on any Conda-based Python platform, can be used programmatically in custom Python code, as is also available on-line to evaluate with your own data. Compliance Checker can read remote ERDDAP and THREDDS OPeNDAP endpoints directly and output text, HTML, or JSON compliance status reports. For more information, see: