Guides / Publishing Open Geospatial Data (1.0)


This guide provides instructions for how to publish open geospatial data to and Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) using GeoNode, specifically State GeoNode. State GeoNode is a digital service provided by the U.S. Department of State for publishing open geographic data produced by or compiled by the U.S. Government to the public, U.S. Government decision-makers, and partners on complex emergencies, natural disasters, and diplomatic activities world-wide.


Step 1: Pre-processing / Naming Convention

Before you upload any data to State GeoNode, you’ll need to choose a good filename. The standard naming convention for HIU is:


This naming convention is similar to the naming convention for final products, but not exactly the same.


For Region, if just one country, use the country’s short name. If two countries, use both country names, such as SyriaTurkey_. If more than two countries, use a sub-region name that makes sense and follows some standard understanding, such as WestAfrica_, Global_, or EurasiaOceania_. Stay away from complex concepts, such as TheLevant_.

For example:



For Date, you don’t need to include the full ISO numeric representation. If the data is generalized to Late June then say late june, instead of picking a specific date. Within GeoNode, you’ll still need to select a specific publish date, but that does not need to correspond exactly with the filename.

Pro Tip

You can rename all the component files of a shapefile at once (.shp, .shx, .dbf, etc.). Simply select all the files and click F2 on your keyboard. Once you rename one of the files, all the component files will update too.

Step 2: Zip Shapefile

Once you have a good filename, zip the shapefile components into one .zip file (not Only include a .shp.xml metadata file if you’ve inspected it to ensure that it does not contain lineage data that can leak protected network information. You can easily edit metadata in GeoNode, so it most cases the initial upload won’t need to include an ArcCatalog managed .shp.xml.

Step 3: Upload Shapefile

Once a file has been zipped properly, upload the .zip file to State GeoNode. GeoNode will automatically unzip the file and parse each component. Start at or relevant url. Once uploaded, click the “Edit Metadata” once it is visible.

Step 4: Edit Metadata

GeoNode has an easy to use metadata editor. The key metadata fields to focus on are:

  • Title (In most cases keep the same as filename)
  • Abstract (Be explicit about classification and licensing restrictions even if there are none).
  • Date
  • Category
  • Regions
  • Keywords

Also include the following, if you’re sure of the correct values:

  • License
  • Maintenance/Update frequency

Make sure to save your changes and double check the layer from it’s detail page.

Step 5: Update DATA.GOV

DATA.GOV automatically harvests from GeoNode every 24 hours, so no additional work is required. The harvest description is at

Step 6: Update HDX

Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) contains a strict subset of the datasets on State GeoNode under the us-state-hiu organization. The datasets are curated and only include the most recent datasets, instead of the full take.

Once data has been uploaded to State GeoNode, update the API links for resources. DO NOT delete any datsets on HDX, except in very unique circumstances. Simply click update on a resource and paste in the new download url for shapefile, KML, GeoJSON, etc.