Topic Categories

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The downloadable national datasets are categorized by general data themes or subject areas to facilitate search and retrieval. The source of these data themes is the ArcIMS Metadata Service Topic Categories, which are derived from the list of International Organization for Standards (ISO) metadata standard (ISO 19115) Topic Categories.

The categories are defined below.


ISO Topic
Category Name
Topic Category
Description Examples
farming Agriculture and farming rearing of animals and/or cultivation of plants agriculture, crops, livestock
biota Biologic and ecologic flora and/or fauna innatural environments flora and fauna, ecology,wetlands, habitat
boundaries Administrative and political boundaries legal land descriptions political and administrative boundaries
climatology​Meteorology​Atmosphere Atmosphere, climatology,and meteorology processes and phenomena ofthe atmosphere processes and phenomena ofthe atmosphere
economy Business and economic economic activities, conditions, and employment business and economics
elevation Elevation and derivedproducts height above or below theearth's surface altitude, bathymetry,DEMs, slope, derived products
environment Environment and conservation environmental resources, protection, andconservation natural resources, pollution, impact assessment,monitoring, land analysis
geoscientific​Information Geological and geophysical information pertaining tothe earth sciences geology, minerals,earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes, soils, gravity, permafrost,
health Human health and disease health, health services, human ecology, and safety disease, illness, factors affecting health,hygiene, substance abuse
imagery​BaseMaps​EarthCover Imagery and basemaps base maps land cover, topographicmaps, imagery, annotations
intelligence​Military Military and intelligence military bases, structures, activities military bases, structures, activities
inland​Waters Inland water resources inland water features,drainage systems and characteristics rivers, glaciers, lakes,water use plans, dams, currents, floods, water quality, hydrographic charts
location Locations and geodetic networks positional information and services addresses, geodetic networks, control points,postal zones, place names
oceans Oceans and estuaries features andcharacteristics of salt water bodies tides, tidal waves,coastal information, reefs
planning​Cadastre Cadastral and land planning information used for appropriate actions for futureuse of the land land use maps, zoning maps, cadastral surveys, landownership
society Cultural, society, anddemographic characteristics of societyand culture anthropology, archaeology,religion, demographics, crime and justice
structure Facilities and structures man-made construction architecture, buildings, museums, churches,factories, housing, monuments, shops, towers
transportation Transportation networks means and aids forconveying persons and/or goods roads, airports,airstrips, shipping routes, tunnels, nautical charts, vehicle and vessellocations, aeronautical charts, railways, trails
utilities​Communication Utility and communication networks energy, water and waste systems, and communicationsinfrastructure hydroelectricity, geothermal, solar, and nuclearsources of energy, water purification