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What Are the GCMD Keywords?

The GCMD Keywords are a hierarchical set of controlled Earth Science vocabularies that help ensure Earth science data and services are described in a consistent and comprehensive manner and allow for the precise searching of collection-level metadata and subsequent retrieval of data and services. Initiated over twenty years ago, the GCMD Keywords continue to be refined and expanded in response to user needs. The sets of GCMD Keywords are as follows.

  • Earth Science Keywords                                                                 
  • Earth Science Services Keywords            
  • Data Centers                                             
  • Projects                                                     
  • Instrument/Sensors
  • Platforms/Sources                    
  • Locations
  • Horizontal Data Resolution
  • Vertical Data Resolution
  • Temporal Data Resolution
  • URL Content Types
  • Chronostratigraphic Units

How Do I Submit a Keyword Request or Issue?


To submit a keyword request (addition or modification) the submitter should:

  1. State the proposed keyword
  2. Provide a definition of the keyword
  3. State the rationale for the keyword addition or modification
  4. Review the keyword rules (criteria used when determining what constitutes a well-curated keyword list)

  5. Verify that the keyword does not already exists by checking the keywords in the Keyword Directory and search for the keyword

Once the above steps have been completed, submit the request to or post to the forum.

Other keyword issues/questions should be posted to the forum.

How Do I Cite the GCMD Keywords?

The GCMD Keywords should be cited as:

Global Change Master Directory (GCMD). 2016. GCMD Keywords, Version 8.4. Greenbelt, MD: Global Change Data Center, Science and Exploration Directorate, Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). URL (GCMD Keyword Forum Page):


Return to the GCMD Keywords Community Forum Home

Return to the GCMD Keyword Landing Page




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