Recording Metadata about Maps

As noted in an earlier post, I am working with a large set of digital maps thanks to Dr. Kristen Hopper, Dr. Dan Lawrence and Dr. Hector Orengo. As I work through these maps I want to record their attributes so I don’t need to re-open them frequently. This is a note about a process to record metadata in QGIS I am trying out.

For each map I wish to record:

  • map_name.
  • crs – The geographic coordinate reference system.
  • extent – The coordinates of the map’s coverage.
  • language – Maps are Arabic, French and English.
  • year.
  • color_scheme – Most maps have black text, brown topographic features and blue water features. Some maps use red and a few add green.
  • ruins_symbol – Some maps use R. R. to signify a Roman Ruin. Others use a picture symbol.

For map_name I use the layer name. Crs and extent are stored as part of the geographic information in the map’s georeferenced tif.

Language can be defined in Layer Properties | Metadata.

Language in Layer Properties Metadata.

I used Metadata Keywords to define color_scheme, ruins_symbol and year.

Metadata Keywords can be used to define custom fields.

A small program in QGIS can export the data into a .csv.

.csv of metadata.

This is the export program in QGIS:

from xml.etree import ElementTree as ETree

file_out = open("E:\\a_new_orgs\\crane\\large\\maps_syria.csv", "w")

layers = qgis.utils.iface.mapCanvas().layers()
for layer in layers:
    layerType = layer.type()
    layerName =
    if layerType == QgsMapLayer.RasterLayer:
        xml = QgsLayerDefinition.exportLayerDefinitionLayers([layer], QgsReadWriteContext()).toString()
        xml_root =  ETree.fromstring(xml)
        keywords = {'color_scheme': '', 'year': '', 'ruins_symbol': ''}
        for obj in xml_root.findall('./maplayers/maplayer/resourceMetadata'):
            map_language = obj.find('language').text
            for keywords_obj in obj.findall('./keywords'):
                keywords[keywords_obj.attrib['vocabulary']] = keywords_obj.find('keyword').text
        print(str(,, layer.extent())
        file_out.write('"' + str( + '","' + str( + '","' + str(layer.extent()) + '","' + str(map_language) + '","' +str(keywords['year']) + '","' + keywords['color_scheme']  + '","' + keywords['ruins_symbol'] + '"\n' )


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