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How to Search for Resources

How to Search for Resources

There are many ways to search a geoportal, and it is possible to search the geoportal from a variety of client applications. Some of these clients are listed in the table below. The Geoportal basic and advanced search are further described in this topic. After conducting a search, see How to Use Search Page Results.

Client ApplicationGeoportal search mechanism


CSW Clients

ArcGIS Explorer

CSW Clients

content management system

Embed the REST URL to the resource or the search criteria


Register the Geoportal as your open search provider

web page

Geoportal Widget for HTML

Flex-based map viewer

Geoportal Widget for Flex

Geoportal web application basic search

Geoportal homepage (see 'basic and advanced search' section below)

Geoportal web application advanced search

Geoportal search tab (see 'basic and advanced search' section below)

Geoportal basic and advanced search

Basic search is accessed from the geoportal homepage. There is a field on the homepage labeled Search. Simply enter a search term keyword in the field, click the Search button, and the results of your text search will display in the search results page. Because the geoportal leverages the lucene query syntax, powerful searches are possible even through the basic text search.

Advanced Search is accessed by clicking the Search tab on the geoportal web application interface. Advanced search enables you to narrow search results by selecting additional filters. The filters described below can be removed from the search query by clicking the Clear link on the search page.

FilterHow to UseOptions

search term input box

Use the search term input box to input a search term or query.

See Using Lucene Search Text Queries

ontology search

See How to Search with an Ontology Service

See How to Search with an Ontology Service

interactive map spatial extent search

Define the spatial extent of the records to be returned from the search, using the Locate Tool and the Map Navigation Tools.

  • Locate Tool: Type in a place name, and the portal will use a locator service to provide a list of places that have that name. Select a place from the list, and the map will center on that place.
  • Map Navigation Tools: Zoom in or zoom out using the arrows on the search map or your mouse wheel.Pan the map by clicking the map and dragging.

  • Anywhere: Search results will return resources from any extent
  • Intersecting: Search results will return resources that have some portion of their extent touching or included in the area defined in the search map
  • Fully within: Search results will return resources that are fully contained in the area defined in the search map

federated search

Click the Records shown from: link and select from the listed resources on the list. This enables searching remote catalogs from the geoportal's interface. When you execute a federated search to a remote catalog, there is no guarantee that the same supported lucene syntax of the native geoportal will return results from the remote catalog. If you have problems retrieving results from a remote catalog, try a simple text search instead of a lucene query.

Resources listed in the federated search dialog are registered CS-W based catalogs, certain customized REST endpoints, or ArcGIS Search Service endpoints.

Additional Options

When the Additional Options link is selected, additional filters are applied to the search. These filters are only sure to be applied to the local geoportal.

Content Type, Topic Category, Modified By dates, and Sorting Results. These are described below. It is possible that additional filters have been added as well, as per the developer customization Add Custom Search Criteria.

Additional Options > Content Type

Searches return documents that are associated with one of eleven content types. Content type is a designated property that the geoportal uses to identify what kind of resource is being described. Some resources provide content type information in their associated metadata, but in most cases the geoportal uses its own logic to determine the content type of a resource.

  • Live Map Services
  • Downloadable Data
  • Offline Data
  • Static Map Images
  • Documents
  • Applications
  • Geographic Services
  • Clearinghouses
  • Map Files
  • Geographic Activities
  • Resource Undetermined (Unknown)

Additional Options > Data Category

Nineteen topic categories defined in the ISO 19115 metadata standard. FGDC metadata has integrated the topic category concept into its own tags as well. Searching by data category will retrieve resources that have the selected data category in its designated place in the resource's metadata XML.

Users can choose more than one data category by checking them in the search form list. Checking more than one box broadens the search; results will be returned for resources from any or all of the data categories selected.

Additional Options > Modified Dates

Refers to the date the resource's metadata was last modified within the geoportal catalog.

By designating a start date and an end date, the search will return records that have been modified during that designated time period.

Additional Options > Sorting Results

Results are shown sorted by one of seven criteria from the resource's metadata XML. Users can designate how results should be sorted by choosing one of the following from the Sort By drop down box.

  • Relevance: If you have typed a search term in the search field at the top of the page, then results are sorted by relevance to that search term. If you have not typed in a search term but search on the other criteria (for example, a search based on just the Content Type), then the results are sorted by date in descending order.
  • Title: Sorted by Title text in alphabetical order, with the "A's" at the top.
  • Content Type: Sorted and grouped by Content Type, with Live Services at the top and Unknown Resource at the bottom.
  • Ascending Date: Sorted by date modified, with the most recent listed at the bottom.
  • Descending Date: Sorted by date modified, with the most recent listed at the top of the list.
  • Ascending Area: Sorted by the size of the spatial extent, with records having a smaller extent at the top.
  • Descending Area: Sorted by the size of the spatial extent, with records having the largest extents at the top.

How to Save a Search

If you find that you enter the same search criteria often, you may want to save the search. Saving the search automatically loads your search criteria and runs the search without you having to input all your specific values on the advanced search page form. You can access the list of searches you saved by clicking the My Saved Searches link to the right of the Search button on the Advanced Search Page. Click on the search name to load the search criteria and run the search. Click on the delete link to delete the saved search. Please note that you can maintain up to 10 saved searches at a time.