[API-users] Changes to GBIF API

Christian Gendreau cgendreau at gbif.org
Mon Apr 4 16:56:34 CEST 2016

Dear API users,

Based on the recommendations from the GBIF Data Fitness for Use in Distribution Modelling group and user feedback, the GBIF Informatics team decided to apply some changes to the GBIF API for the occurrences[1] response. We decided to deprecate the field "coordinateAccuracy" in favor of the DarwinCore terms based fields "coordinateUncertaintyInMeters"[2] and "coordinatePrecision"[3] as provided(see details below) by the data publishers.

The JSON response will remain the same structure except:
- coordinateAccuracy will never be found since it will be null and null values are not provided explicitly (same as the current behaviour for most records)
- coordinateUncertaintyInMeters and coordinatePrecision will be included (example: coordinateUncertaintyInMeters: 1000, coordinatePrecision: 0.0001)

These changes should not break existing applications using the JSON API, and therefore as a non breaking change can be included in the V1 of our API as an enhancement.

DarwinCore definition: "The horizontal distance (in meters) from the given decimalLatitude and decimalLongitude describing the smallest circle containing the whole of the Location. Leave the value empty if the uncertainty is unknown, cannot be estimated, or is not applicable (because there are no coordinates). Zero is not a valid value for this term."
GBIF comment: double, must be greater and not equals to 0 and lower than 5000000 (5000 km), as provided by data publishers with unit stripped (if the value is provided in imperial, conversion will be applied), related issue OccurrenceIssue.COORDINATE_UNCERTAINTY_METERS_INVALID.

DarwinCore definition: "A decimal representation of the precision of the coordinates given in the decimalLatitude and decimalLongitude."
GBIF comment: double, must be between 0 and 1, elated occurrence issue OccurrenceIssue.COORDINATE_PRECISION_INVALID

We expect the changes to be available next week (between 11-15 April 2016).

The GBIF Informatics team

[1] http://www.gbif.org/developer/occurrence
[2] http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/coordinateUncertaintyInMeters
[3] http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/coordinatePrecision

GBIF Issue tracking reference: http://dev.gbif.org/issues/browse/POR-2795

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