Preparing Your Data, Apps, Maps or Services for Publication

To prepare your data, apps, maps, or services for publication, you will need to create a "dataResource" or "appResource" package. The details of those packages are described below, along with information on tools that can help with the process.

Deciding on a publishing format

The first decision is whether you are publishing a data resource or an app resource. For information on the two resource types and decision rules, see Choosing a Resource Type

If publishing a Data Resource:

The folder structure for a data resource includes:

  • A subfolder named “metadata” which must contain MGMG-compliant metadata and may contain additional descriptive information such as data preview files and related reports.
  • Subfolders for each data subresource type (see Resource Formats).
  • A file named “dataResource.xml”, which provides key information that will register the resource with the GDRS and the Commons.

Optional information in a data resource can include:

  • ArcGIS layer files (.lyr and/or .lyrx), to specify the symbology to be used with the data (see Preparing an ArcGIS Layer File). If the publisher wishes to provide data access through Quick Layers, a layer file must be included with the resource.
  • Preview files that show the data (see Preparing Previews for Publication).

For more detailed information on preparing a data resource, see Data Resource Directory Structure.

If publishing an App Resource:

The folder structure for an app resource includes:

  • A file named “appResource.xml”, which provides key information that will register the resource with the GDRS and the Commons.
  • Since an app resource does not require a formal metadata record, the appResource.xml must contain more information about the application.
  • Optional: subfolders for additional documentation or subresource type(s) (see Resource Formats). 

For more detailed information on preparing an app resource, see App Resource Directory Structure.

Make use of available tools

Tools have been created that simplify the process of creating metadata and creating compliant data and app resource packages that will be published to the Commons. These tools are apps that can be downloaded from the Commons.

Minnesota Metadata Editor (MME)

Data resources are required to have Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines (MGMG) metadata that can be searched by the Commons, and the Minnesota Metadata Editor (MME) is especially designed to create MGMG-compliant metadata. (For metadata created by other means, contact MnGeo to discuss compatibility and methods.) For instance, MGMG is a subset of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) GIS metadata standard. Metadata created in ArcCatalog using the FGDC format can also be made compatible with the Commons metadata requirements.

MGC (Minnesota Geospatial Commons) Resource Editor Add-in

The data resource folder structure and xml document can be complex. Given this, the MGC Resource Editor Add-in to ArcGIS was designed to help users create a valid, Commons-compliant data resource folder package, including the dataResource.xml or appResource.xml document (see MGC Resource Editor Documentation ArcGIS 10.2 Add-in).

Data Resource Validation Tool Add-in

The MGC Resource Editor app folder also contains a Data Resource Validation Add-in. This tool verifies folder structure, xml document structure, and metadata content (see Data Resource Validation Tool Add-in). If you use the MGC Resource Editor Add-in to create your data resource, then you should not have issues with folder or XML structure, so the validation will be mostly for metadata content. However, if you create a data resource folder manually, or manually change a data resource folder that was originally created using the MGC Resource Editor, then this Validation Tool can be used to verify the structure and content of your resource.

Automatic processes to convert to common data types

Many data resources are published to the GDRS in Esri file geodatabase format. The Commons publishing process automatically converts the data into two additional formats for distribution on the FTP site: GeoPackage and Shapefile. This frees the publisher from having to provide data in these formats. However, there are situations where this automatic conversion does not produce the intended result due to the varied functionality of the formats. Therefore, it's a good idea to test your data downloads from the Commons, particularly in formats created via automatic conversions.