Frequently Asked Questions

What is GBIF?

“GBIF—the Global Biodiversity Information Facility—is an international network and data infrastructure funded by the world’s governments and aimed at providing anyone, anywhere, open access to data about all types of life on Earth.” For more information, please visit:

What is “species occurrence data” and why is it important?

Most research on biological organisms in nature involves recording or collecting evidence of an occurrence of a species by a person (or instrument) at a particular place and time. We refer to these data in general terms as “species occurrence data”. Regardless of the initial reason the species occurrence was recorded, the knowledge that it was actually at a specific place at a specific time is extremely useful in many areas of science and natural resource management. For example, these occurrence records are instrumental in tracking the spread of invasive species, the decline of threatened species, and the movement of ranges in response to climate change or other environmental factors. Species occurrence data are used as baseline data for modeling and analysis, in ecological research, and in the management of natural resources. Each record in a species occurrence dataset available through GBIF-US will typically consist of a scientific name (genus and specific epithet), a date, and one or more geographic references such as a state or province name, county name, and/or decimal latitude and longitude coordinates. In addition to these typical data fields, species occurrence datasets often include many other data fields that describe each species occurrence event in more detail.

What are the data standards used to share biodiversity data?

“The Darwin Core Standard offers a stable, straightforward and flexible framework for compiling biodiversity data from varied and variable sources.” For more information, please see:

Who determines the scientific names used in GBIF-US? What is the taxonomic authority?

The GBIF-US hosted portal backbone taxonomy is currently the GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. More information about the GBIF Backbone Taxonomy can be found here.

How can I share biodiversity data with VAL and GBIF?

Yes! The Vermont Atlas of Life has been an official GBIF data publisher since 2018. Using a server running the GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT), the VAL IPT data repository is a great way to publish your data if you want a fully available and updated repository with assigned DOI for giving you credit and tracking use. As an official data publisher for GBIF, new and updated datasets on our IPT are being added all the time. From species checklists to occurrence records or sampling-event data, visit our IPT server to see what is available.

Perhaps you have a large dataset of occurrence records or sampling-events that are only on paper forms. Or maybe you have an old spreadsheet or database from work you completed long ago that is somewhere on your computer. Maybe you have notebooks filled with field sightings. Whatever the situation, your hard work will be more widely used for science, conservation and education if others can access it now and far into the future. Whether you want to create a specific atlas on our site, share data with others, or just archive your data for the future with restrictions – we’re here to help you find a solution that fits.

To download results click the Download tab next to the Map tab. Follow the instructions to login to your GBIF user account and select the type of download you would prefer- simple, Darwin Core Archive, or species list.