[Tdwg-obs] Monitoring definition and protocol repository

tdwg at achapman.org tdwg at achapman.org
Wed Nov 23 16:24:06 CET 2005

I like this definition.

I think it is important we recognise absences - a key reason for looking at observation data from my view.  Also, I can see many uses for the opportunistic occurence that Lynn mentions.


Arthur Chapman

>>>From Lynn Kutner <Lynn_Kutner at natureserve.org> on 22 Nov 2005:

> Hi all - 
> I think we're really close ... But I have a couple of questions and a
> suggested minor rewording. I forwarded Bob Peet's definition to several
> NatureServe staff, member programs, and partners who work with
> observation data. The following reflects the compiled comments from
> several people.
> There was concern that including "defined protocol" in the definition of
> observation could be overly restrictive and prevent the inclusion in an
> observation data repository of high quality / high confidence
> information that was collected opportunistically and not as part of an
> official survey with a protocol. For example - a biologist out doing a
> bird survey happens upon some scat or tracks that he/she recognizes as a
> species of interest to his/her (say, wolverine) and records the GPS
> coordinates and some basic information about the date/time and location.
> Would this be acceptable for an observations system? Would it be
> acceptable to indicate the protocol as "none" or something similar?
> We'd like to propose adding some language to incorporate explicit
> tracking of negative data. These would be data where a survey was
> conducted for a certain species (such as a rare orchid) in an area where
> it would be expected to be found, and the observer wants to document and
> communicate that information to inform future survey efforts,
> distribution mapping efforts, and activities such as conservation
> planning. This would be different from inferring negative data as is
> sometimes done with bird observation data.
> Also - does the "defined spatiotemporal location" need to be highly
> precise, or can it be defined generally (with spatiotemporal uncertainty
> as needed) to reflect knowledge of the observation or observer? For
> example - include imprecise dates (e.g. spring 1998) and locations (3
> miles SW of the intersection of Clear Creek and Main Road)?
> So ... With the above as background, what do people think of the
> following tinkering with Bob's suggested definition:
> "An observation characterizes the occurrence, or documents the lack of
> occurrence, of an organism or set of organisms through a data collection
> event at a location.  Individual observations are not necessarily
> independent entities and potentially can be linked through common
> characteristics such as time, place, protocol, and co-occurring
> organisms." 
> Thanks - 
> Lynn
> Lynn Kutner
> NatureServe
> Email:    lynn_kutner at natureserve.org
> Phone:   (303) 541-0360
> www.natureserve.org 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tdwg-obs-bounces at lists.tdwg.org
> [mailto:Tdwg-obs-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Steve Kelling
> Sent: Monday, November 21, 2005 5:19 AM
> To: Robert K. Peet; Tdwg-obs at lists.tdwg.org
> Subject: [Tdwg-obs] Monitoring definition and protocol repository
> All,
> I really like Bob's rewording of the definition, and suggest that we all
> refer to this.
> Steve
> At 12:38 PM 11/20/2005 -0500, Robert K. Peet wrote:
> >Hi Steve,
> >
> >Try the folllowing revision, which is in part an exercise to see
> whether I
> >understand your definition.
> >
> >"An observation characterizes the occurrence of an organism or set of
> >organisms through a data collection event using a defined protocol at a
> >defined spatiotemporal location. Individual observations are not
> >necessarily independent entities and potentially can be linked through
> >common characteristics such as time, place, protocol, and individual
> >organisms."
> >
> >Bob
> >
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