[Tdwg-obs] observation definition / moving forward

tdwg at achapman.org tdwg at achapman.org
Tue Jan 31 04:37:35 CET 2006


Pity we didn't have this discussion before I wrote that.

We used the term "Species Occurrence Data" after lots of discussion and arguments over what we are really talking about. People argued against "biodiversity data", "Primary Species Data" "Species Collection Data" and many more.  Some still do not like the term "Species Occurrence Data", but personally I think it does cover most of the what we are talking about. 

I look forward to this discussion and hope that my definition is not too far off the mark.  Of course "Occurrence" may have a different definition when separated from "species".



Arthur D. Chapman
Australian Biodiversity Information Services
Toowoomba, Australia

>>>From Lynn Kutner <Lynn_Kutner at natureserve.org> on 30 Jan 2006:

> A belated happy new years to all!
> It's been quite awhile since the last post to the TDWG-observations
> list, so I have included at the bottom the previous message as a
> reminder of where we are in the discussion about a working definition
> for "observation".
> In the interim, I discussed directly with Steve a minor edit to make the
> wording in the second sentence of the observation definition plural.
> Steve liked this edit, so we propose the following as our working
> definition for the observation subgroup:
> "An observation characterizes the occurrence of an organism or set of
> organisms through a data collection event at a location. Observations
> are not necessarily independent entities and could be linked via
> characteristics such as time, place, protocol, and co-occurring
> organisms."
> As a next step, we propose to develop more fully the definitions for the
> following words or phrases. As we we work through these definitions,
> please keep in mind addressing the issues that have been raised
> regarding topics such as: negative data, protocol, spatial temporal
> issues, and data aggregation.
>         occurrence
>         data collection event 
>         location
>         entity
>         could be linked 
> We thought it best to start with fleshing out the definition for
> "occurrence" since that seems to be fundamental. I did some searching
> for existing definitions of "occurrence" in a biological context and it
> seems to most often be a word that is used with the assumption that
> everybody is working from a common frame of reference. 
> The following is from:
> Chapman, A. D. 2005. Principles of Data Quality, version 1.0. Report for
> the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Copenhagen.
> (http://www.gbif.org/prog/digit/data_quality)
> Species-occurrence data
> Species-occurrence data is used here to include specimen label data
> attached to specimens or lots housed in museums and herbaria,
> observational data and environmental survey data. In general, the data
> are what we term "point-based", although line (transect data from
> environmental surveys, collections along a river), polygon (observations
> from within a defined area such as a national park) and grid data
> (observations or survey records from a regular grid) are also included.
> In general we are talking about georeferenced data - i.e. records with
> geographic references that tie them to a particular place in space -
> whether with a georeferenced coordinate (e.g. latitude and longitude,
> UTM) or not (textual description of a locality, altitude, depth) - and
> time (date, time of day). In general the data are also tied to a
> taxonomic name, but unidentified collections may also be included. The
> term has occasionally been used interchangeably with the term "primary
> species data".
> Primary species data
> "Primary species data" is used to describe raw collection data and data
> without any spatial attributes. It includes taxonomic and nomenclatural
> data without spatial attributes, such as names, taxa and taxonomic
> concepts without associated geographic references.
> *****
> Thoughts or suggestions on a working definition of "occurrence" for this
> subgroup?
> Thank you in advance for your ideas!
> Lynn
> Lynn Kutner 
> Data Management Coordinator, NatureServe 
> Email:    lynn_kutner at natureserve.org 
> Phone:   (303) 541-0360 
> www.natureserve.org 
> ________________________________
> From: Steve Kelling [mailto:stk2 at cornell.edu] 
> Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 7:57 AM
> To: Lynn Kutner; Tdwg-obs at lists.tdwg.org
> Subject: Re: [Tdwg-obs] Monitoring definition and protocol repository
> Hello,

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