Monitoring Metadata Exchange (MMX)

Project Description

Few organizations document location, site visit history, and protocol information in readily available, shareable and standardized machine readable formats. The result is poor region-wide coordination between programs. One solution to this issue is to standardize the format in which the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ of data collection events is presented to support data sharing efforts. The focus would not be on sharing raw measurement data, but on metadata about these events.

In support of improved data management and in an effort to collect and publish timely, accurate, and relevant scientific data that properly inform key management questions, this document proposes a data exchange standard for site level data collection event (DCE) metadata associated with research, monitoring, and evaluation (RM&E) efforts. A site is the spatial location where one or more measurements are taken and metrics derived. A more generic term for this is “spatial unit”. Furthermore, by establishing a standard for this metadata in an online exchange, the data will become more valuable as funders and researchers can more easily identify where monitoring is occurring, where data are located, and what designs and methodologies were used to collect it. Contained in the document is the first version of a data exchange template for DCE elements. Data exchange templates (DET), which describe the information participants would like to share and what format it should be shared in, are a critical step in sharing information, but only one piece of the data sharing puzzle. After an agreement is reached on what data to share and the format, technical discussions will be needed to finalize a DET and processes for sharing data, which includes a data sharing agreement. All of these pieces will make up the standard.

Site level DCE metadata includes the minimum information needed to render integrated maps of project locations and perform analytical queries relating to location, method, organization, and time across programs. Site level DCE metadata can help answer the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, and ‘how’ questions about specific projects. Over time, the expectation is that the more researchers who provide site level DCE metadata for their RM&E data in an online exchange, the greater universal access will be to a complete and up‐to‐date summary of the information available. This will enable managers to make better informed decisions about key management questions and to reduce redundancy or duplication when planning future efforts.

Project Team

Brodie Cox (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife), Van Hare (Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission), Damon Hess (Sitka Technology Group), Jack Janisch (Washington Department of Ecology), Won Kim (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality), Pete Ruhl (US Geological Survey), Jacquelyn Schei (US Geological Survey/Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership), Becca Scully (US Geological Survey/Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership), Keith Steele (Sitka Technology Group) and Daniel Wieferich (Michigan State University, National Fish Habitat Partnership)


Draft DET available

September 22, 2016 - 11:13am

Since April, PNAMP staff have met regularly with a small working group to draft a data exchange template (DET) for the metadata information associated with data collection events. Ultimately, the intent of a final standard will be to exchange metadata information (the who, what, where, when and how) about data collection events. This could support a variety of things, but would specifically facilitate PNAMP's collection of metadata information for display in the Monitoring Explorer. Check out the draft DET for the Monitoring Metadata Exchange (MMX) here: and send us your feedback (

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