Places

Places are described in Arctos using, independently, both coordinate and descriptive data. This is often conflicting. For example, the map below is of a “New Mexico” specimen that also maps to Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.

Additionally, descriptive data in Arctos are often incomplete and seemingly contradictory. For example, this spatial query:

Returns these data:

CONTINENT_OCEAN COUNTRY STATE_PROV SEA
Arctic Ocean -NULL- -NULL- Chukchi Sea
North America United States Alaska Chukchi Sea
North America United States Alaska -NULL-
North America United States Alaska Beaufort Sea
Arctic Ocean -NULL- -NULL- -NULL-
Arctic Ocean -NULL- -NULL- Beaufort Sea
North America United States Alaska Bering Sea
North Pacific Ocean -NULL- -NULL- Bering Sea

This virtually guarantees that descriptive queries will miss specimens.

Reversing the process, and querying on the more embarrassing values above, produces (as expected?) unexpected results.

Arctic Ocean, Chuchki Sea

Chukchi Sea, North America, United States, Alaska

Beaufort Sea, North America, United States, Alaska

North America, Alaska, United States, Bering Sea

North Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea

Take-home message? Use coordinate query if at all possible, and expect the unexpected if you must use textual query.