In the 2012 President's Budget Request, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) is terminated. As a result, all resources, databases, tools, and applications within this web site will be removed on January 15, 2012. For more information, please refer to the NBII Program Termination page.

Taxonomic Data Working Group

The Biodiversity Information Standards Taxonomic Data Working Group logo.

The Invasive Species Interest Group will develop standard computer-based mechanisms for expressing and transferring information about invasive species, including taxonomies, distributions, terminologies, descriptions, identification tools, pathways, invasiveness, management information, and associated resources, for use by the GISIN and the global invasive species science community in general.

HUCs: An Aquatic Mapping Standard

Map of the US showing 6-digit hydrologic units. USGS.
Map of the US showing 6-digit hydrologic units. USGS.

One standard used in mapping aquatic species is the U.S. Geological Survey's system of hydrologic unit codes (HUCs). This system assigns numbers to drainages. These drainages are based on a hierarchical system that starts large and gets smaller as extra digits are added to the code.

Mapping aquatic species by drainages makes much more sense than using political boundaries such as counties. The species are confined by the water boundaries and cannot disperse over drainage divides without help. Conversely, mobile organisms have full access to all connected waters in a drainage.

This system is better developed for freshwater than it is for marine areas. It works quite well in the United States, but unfortunately other countries do not have such a system.

Helpful links:

Hydrologic Unit Codes Explained (USGS/NAS)

EPA's Surf Your Watershed - A watershed in Surf Your Watershed is the 8-digit cataloging unit; gives info about watershed too

Watershed Information Network (EPA)

1:2,000,000-Scale Hydrologic Unit Maps

USGS Water Resources Division - Hydrologic Unit maps and spatial data

USGS National Hydrography Dataset

USGS GIS Data for Water Resources

EPA Office of Water

Standards and Protocols for Invasive Species Data and Maps

In order for data to be shared across regions, borders, jurisdictions or programs, it is important that we all "speak the same language". Setting up standards, such as a standardized vocabulary, is one way to do this.

On the most basic level, we need to make sure a species has a standardized name - usually the scientific name, in order to make sure we are speaking about the same plant or animal. One standard used for species names is the Integrated Taxonomic Information Service.

Another basic important term is the classification of the species as exotic, invasive, introduced, nonindigenous, non-native, naturalized, etc. If we were to share a common set of vocabulary and definitions for terms, data sharing would be much easier.

When we speak of population status, what does established mean.  Is your definition the same as mine?

When it comes to mapping locations, are they recorded in degrees, minutes and seconds of latitude and longitude? Decimal minutes? Decimal degrees? Using what datum? NAD 27 or NAD 83/WGS 84? Or are they in UTMs; or township, range, section? If two data holders want to combine data sets one may have to convert the other's into their format.

How is collection date presented? DD/MM/YY? YYYY/DD/MM? Is the year two digits or four?

The list below includes invasive species mapping standards and manuals to make you award of some of the existing standards that have been developed. If you follow an existing standard, it is more likely that your data will conform to other data sets.

Let us know!

If you know of a mapping standard for invasive species - especially aquatic species or terrestrial animals that we should list here, please let us know.

Data Standards

People collect data using an array of methods, various information fields, different units for the same measurement, and many other non-standard items. The National Institute for Invasive Species Science has developed a set of standards users can follow to upload their data in a standard format to enable all of this disparate data to be analyzed and displayed together.

Field Data Collection Standards:

Classifications (invasive, noxious, agricultural, introduced, native, and rare):

Organism Name Coding Standards:

Go to the National Institute of Invasive Species Science web site

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