Everybody Loves Metadata

Or, more precisely, everybody loves <Metadata>.

Hardly is KML into the OGC standards process and already folks are getting ready to standardize what goes into the anonymous <Metadata> block.

Ron Lake thinks that … wait for it … wait for it … GML would be an “ideal” encoding to use in <Metadata>.

Chris Goad at Platial thinks that we should be doing content attribution (who made this, who owns this) in <Metadata>.

Even Google is getting into the game. The explanations of how to integrate your application schema for <Metadata> extensions into the KML schema are a nice reminder of the sort of eye-glazing details that have made life so hard for GML. Doing things right is hard.

It is particularly delicious that the very thing that makes adding information to <Metadata> fiddly is the preparation of schemas: you need metadata about the metadata you are adding to <Metadata>.

Where will this all end? I think it will end with the Google Team picking one or a few <Metadata> encodings to expose in their user interfaces (Earth and Maps). At that point all content will converge rapidly on that encoding, and the flexibility of <Metadata> will be rapidly ignored.