M³Cat is a powerful tool for the creation and cataloguing of geospatial metadata following many standards and many languages. Metadata include specific pieces of information that characterize data; these can be used to catalogue data in many different ways. M³Cat has many advantages:
- it allows users to configure their own metadata fields using the standards delivered with the tool, such as FGDC, GILS, NBII and ISO 19115. Alternatively, users can build a specific standard profile, including language and cultural particularities, to fulfill their needs;
- it allows users to customize the interface for standard values (pull-down lists, etc.) or establish default values for numerous metadata fields (organisation name, projection system, etc.);
- it allows users to use templates that correspond to the type of data set they document and then take advantage of cataloguing aids such as Wizards or metadata inheritance between data sets to facilitate the development of metadata databases;
- it uses an integrated multi-projection, multi-datum geographic viewer to enter data set bounding coordinates.
M³Cat is provided free to potential users and has been tested with half a dozen governmental organisations involved in the management of geospatial data. It works in a Web environment, supports XML and SGML, and can interface to the ANSI/NISO Z39.50 FGDC GEO profile.