Proposed features/Biological

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Biodiversity: Connecting OpenStreetMap (OSM) with International BioDiversity Data ( using Darwin Core Terms (
Status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: WernerLeyh
Tagging: dwc_space:dwc_key=dwc_value
Applies to: Node
Definition: Biological occurrences (, with geographical qualities, described with OSM-TAGs using Darwin Core Standard – Terms ( to guarantee complete registration for interoperability with authoritative datasets.
Rendered as: The same as natural
Drafted on: 2015-06-14

Summarizing objectives and approaches

Main objectives of our Darwin Core Term proposal ( for Openstreetmap TAG´s (

Related to OSM :

  • Adding value to the data contributions of OSM volunteers by improving discoverability, comparability and integrability with international biodiversity data indexed by GBIF
  • Facilitating the recognition of OSM–based contributions through datapapers (
  • Empowering OSM´s role as an important community driven player in Citizen Science (=guided thematic VGI)
  • Attending the main objectives established by OSM´s Environmental Community ( The present work can be considered as a direct contribution to overcome the three main challenges, defined by the Environmental OpenStreetMap Community (OSM):
  1. Improve the tagging schema for environmental data
  2. Define a strategy for surveying and providing this data throughout the wide environmental sector
  3. Create specific maps for specialist environmental uses

Related to public involvement and citizen participation:

  • Promote a reliable community-driven data base to contribute in public discussion and dicision making

Related to biodiversity:

  • Contribute to international efforts to mobilize “highly needed and missing” biodiversity data


By complementing highly needed and missing “primary biodiversity data” from traditional sources such as governmental and scientific monitoring of biodiversity ( with crowd-sourced biodiversity data, we can make both, the “official” biodiversity monitoring process more effective (with the aide of local knowledge) while actively engaging citizen and / or stakeholders in this data collection process.

The present proposal explores the flexibility of OSM's free tagging system.

Based on the community-driven Darwin Core Standard (DwC), the existing OSM tagging schema has been extended, to create a Tagging-Interface which enable the direct use of DwC-Standard-Terms as OSM-TAG´s.


The uses of primary species-occurrence data are wide and varied and encompass virtually every aspect of human endeavor - food, shelter and recreation; art and history, society, science and politics (

In this context, we attend interoperability interests of potential environmental data contributors and consumers to make OSM community data discoverable, comparable and integratable with the most important public frameworks for environment and biodiversity, such as Spatial data infrastructures (SDI), like INDE ( in Brazil, INSPIRE ( in Europe, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility ( and the Global Earth Observation "System of Systems" (

Significance-How many of the item do you think there will be in the world?

Infinitive: The central unit of biodiversity informatics is the occurrence, the observed presence of an organism at a particular place an d time.

Significance-Is it useful for research/study?

Addressing the challenge of providing high quality primary biodiversity data potentially can serve the new 2020 biodiversity targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the needs of national and international biodiversity initiatives like the global biodiversity observation network (

Compatibility with well known OSM tags

This proposal covers some existing, additional tags related to the very broad category "natural" (e.g. tree, genus, species). The proposed TAG´s and "Darwin Core - Standard based" tagging schema can and do coexist with the well known tags. The usage of the new tags is recommended but not mandatory.

Additional "imported" Darwin Core TAGs

namespace (controlled vocabulary) Key (with prefix) Value (examples) Class (Darwin Core, Dublin Core) DwC-Term/OSM-Tag - Importance DwC-Term - Reference DwC-Term - Definition
Darwin Core: dwc:occurrenceID=* For a specimen in the absence of a global unique identifier, for example, use the form:

"urn:catalog:[institutionCode]:[collectionCode]:[catalogNumber]. Examples: "","urn:catalog:FMNH:Mammal:145732".

Occurrence: Mandatory occurrenceID: An identifier for the Occurrence (as opposed to a particular digital record of the occurrence).
Darwin Core: dwc:recordedBy=* The recommended best practice is to separate the values with a vertical bar. The primary collector or observer, especially one who applies a personal identifier (recordNumber), should be listed first. Occurrence: Mandatory recordedBy: A list (concatenated and separated) of names of people, groups, or organizations responsible for recording the original Occurrence.
Darwin Core: dwc:occurrenceRemarks=* "found dead on road" Occurrence: Optional occurrenceRemarks: Comments or notes about the Occurrence.
Darwin Core: dwc:associatedMedia=* Occurrence: Optional associatedMedia: A list (concatenated and separated) of identifiers (publication, global unique identifier, URI) of media associated with the Occurrence.
Darwin Core: dwc:basisOfRecord=* Examples: "PreservedSpecimen", "FossilSpecimen", "LivingSpecimen", "HumanObservation", "MachineObservation". all Mandatory basisOfRecord: The specific nature of the data record.
Darwin Core: dwc:eventDate=* "2009-02-20T08:40Z" is 20 Feb 2009 8:40am UTC Event: Mandatory eventDate: The date-time or interval during which an Event occurred. For occurrences, this is the date-time when the event was recorded.
Darwin Core: dwc:decimalLatitude=* -41.0983423 Location: Mandatory decimalLatitude: The geographic latitude (in decimal degrees, using the spatial reference system given in geodeticDatum) of the geographic center of a Location.
Darwin Core: dwc:decimalLongitude=* -121.1761111 Location: Mandatory decimalLongitude: The geographic longitude (in decimal degrees, using the spatial reference system given in geodeticDatum) of the geographic center of a Location.
Darwin Core: dwc:countryCode=* "AR" for Argentina Location: Optional countryCode: Recommended best practice is to use ISO 3166-1-alpha-2 country codes.
Darwin Core: dwc:stateProvince=* Minas Gerais Location: Optional stateProvince: The name of the next smaller administrative region than country (state, province, canton, department, region, etc.) in which the Location occurs.
Darwin Core: dwc:municipality=* Holzminden Location: Optional municipality: The full, unabbreviated name of the next smaller administrative region than county (city, municipality, etc.) in which the Location occurs.
Darwin Core: dwc:locality=* Bariloche, 25 km NNE via Ruta Nacional 40 (=Ruta 237) Location: Optional locality: The specific description of the place
Darwin Core: dwc:identifiedBy=* Identification: Mandatory identifiedBy: A list (concatenated and separated) of names of people, groups, or organizations who assigned the Taxon to the subject.
Darwin Core: dwc:scientificName=* Mauritia flexuosa Taxon: Mandatory scientificName: The full scientific name, with authorship and date information if known
Darwin Core: dwc:vernacularName=* Andean Condor Taxon: Optional vernacularName: A common or vernacular name.
Dublin Core: dcterms:language=* LinguisticSystem: Mandatory language: MARC ISO 639-2 language IRI
Dublin Core: dcterms:bibliographicCitation=* Ctenomys sociabilis (MVZ 165861) BibliographicResource: Optional bibliographicCitation: A bibliographic reference for the resource as a statement indicating how this record should be cited (attributed) when used. Recommended practice is to include sufficient bibliographic detail to identify the resource as unambiguously as possible.



The advantages of such a standardized approach are the facilitation of reliable, community-driven VGI/OSM-collections of biological occurrences, which can be discovered, compared and integrated with official authoritative international biological collections (like -

It is a direct contribution to overcoming the three main challenges, i.e. tackle global warming, sustainable development and biodiversity, associated with the Environmental OSM, because the hereby proposed DwC-OSM-interface is able to to improve community-based knowledge about the distribution of species (

Although the application of 20 terms from the OSM-DwC interface seems to place greater tagging burden on OSM-contributors, we highlight that, in (hopefully near) future, most of them might be filled automatically by special editors or electronic devices used for registration.

OSM–DwC–Step by Step Use Case: Integration of DwC-based OSM-data and international indexed biodiversity data (GBIF)

1-Step: Planing the data collection:

2-Step: Mapping within Openstreetmap, applying proposed DwC-terms as OSM-TAG´s:

  • DONE (1) !!!:
  • At this point you have already, a VGI-community based biodiversity dataset, interoperable (=discoverable, searchable, comparable, integrable) with the main international biodiversity repositories of primary occurrence data:
  • You are ready to GO: Use your OSM-data together with other freely available GBIF-sources, e.g. to contribute to public surveys, environmental discussions and reports, scientific analyses and simulations.
  • But maybe you are interested to see your OSM-data directly included in international biodiversity data repositories:

3-Step: Publishing Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) formatted data set:

4-Step: GBIF announcement and registration of International indexed data set for sharing and reuse:

  • DONE (2) !!!:
  • But maybe you are interested to discuss your data further with the international scientific community:

5-Step: Automatically generated metadata based manuscript to submit a datapaper (a peer-reviewed paper about your data contribution):

References / links

Related and proposed existing tags/proposals

Key:natural - Used to describe a selection of Geological and Landcover features -

Key:plant_community - intended as a general tag for adding more detailed information to areas tagged with one of the more general Vegetation tags -

For further information and discussion

Please visit: