What is higher geography?

Higher Geography is a DarwinCore field that combines the following geopolitical subdivisions (above the specific locality) in a single string: Continent/Ocean, Sea, Country, State_Prov, County, Quad, Feature, Island_Group, Island. This field uses a controlled vocabulary with curator-only access for changes and additions.

Data Entry Protocol

Each locality is referenced to a Higher Geography record by a unique identifier that is picked by the data entry personnel. If there is no appropriate Higher Geography record in the database for a locality, the data entry person must notify a Staff Curator who has the authority to update Higher Geography data in Arctos. Higher Geography should always include as much specific information as is provided with the locality. For example, if the complete locality is “near Snoqualmie Pass, King County, Washington”, then the data entry person should pick the Higher Geography record that has “North America, United States, Washington, King County.” If this record does not exist in Arctos, then a new record must be created rather than choosing the record that says only has “North America, United States, Washington.”

Counties: Localities within the United States (except Alaska) should be referenced to county, parish or equivalent political subdivision. For Alaska, the 7.5′ Topographic Quad name serves as a geographic subdivision and should be entered in the Quad field. Counties also may be used for countries besides the U.S. (e.g., United Kingdom).

Offshore Localities: For offshore localities, the Higher Geography should include at least the ocean. If applicable, an offshore locality also may include Sea and Feature, where Feature is in this case a tertiary subdivision of the pelagic location (e.g., Prince William Sound).

Features: Feature may be used for tertiary pelagic localities as described for offshore localities above. Terrestrial features include national parks or monuments, reserves, physiographic features, and other geographic regions of interest such as “San Francisco Bay Area.”

Islands: Island localities should be referenced to the specific island name and, if relevant, the largest island group or archipelago to which that island is associated. An offshore locality that is associated with an island should include the island as part of the Higher Geography record. For example, if the complete locality is “100 yds off of the beach, Bay Farm Island, Alameda Co., California”, then the Higher Geography record should be “North America, United States, California, Alameda County, Bay Farm Island.”