Named Area Standards recommended by GBIF

This page lists geographic area standards and recommends a namespace prefix for each of them to be used as part of the dwc:locationID in particular inside the GNA Species Distribution Extension.

A good index to standards with maps and sometimes shapefiles is managed at VLIZ.


Prefix Name Example Description
ISO ISO 3166 country codes ISO:DK
All country codes from the ISO 3166 family. This includes in particular the 3166-1 ALPHA2 (2 letter) and 3166-1 ALPHA3 (3 letter) country codes. But also the 3166-3 4 letter codes of formerly existing countries and any 3166-2 codes for the principal subdivisions of a country, e.g. AU-VIC for Victoria, Australia. ISO 3166-2 is recommended to disambiguate oversea territorries and major geographic units.
TDWG TDWG World Geographical Scheme
for Recording Plant Distributions
South Argentina
This scheme meets the need for a standard yet adaptable system of geographical units for use in recording plant distributions and arranging specimens. Because a purely political arrangement cannot meet all the needs of botanists, the scheme's arrangement compromises between a politically and a phytogeographically oriented system. It identifies geographic units worldwide in a four-level hierarchy, incorporating continents, regions, provinces and countries. Each geographical unit at each level has its own numeric or alphanumeric code.
WOEID Where on Earth IDentifier WOEID:2347563
Spatial entities provided by Yahoo! GeoPlanet are referenced by a 32-bit identifier: the Where On Earth ID (WOEID). WOEIDs are unique and non-repetitive, and are assigned to all entities within the system. A WOEID, once assigned, is never changed or recycled. If a WOEID is deprecated it is mapped to its successor or parent WOEID, so that requests to the service using a deprecated WOEID are served transparently.
FAO FAO Fishing Areas FAO:37.4.1
Marmara Sea
The FAO Fishing Areas using the numerical codes for the mayor areas, subareas, divisions or subdivisions.
TEOW Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World (TEOW) TEOW:PA0446
Western Iran mountain forest steppe
Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World is a biogeographic regionalization of the Earth's terrestrial biodiversity published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The biogeographic units are ecoregions, which are defined as relatively large units of land or water containing a distinct assemblage of natural communities sharing a large majority of species, dynamics, and environmental conditions. There are 867 terrestrial ecoregions, classified into 14 different biomes such as forests, grasslands, or deserts. Ecoregions represent the original distribution of distinct assemblages of species and communities.
EEZ Exclusive Economic Zones
(ISO based)
German Exclusive Economic Zone
The Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of the world for all countries. The identifiers used are the 2 letter ISO country codes but areas represented are marine.
LONGHURST Longhurst Biogeographical Provinces LONGHURST:REDS
Red Sea
This dataset represents a partition of the world oceans into provinces as defined by Longhurst, A.R. (2006). Ecological Geography of the Sea. 2nd Edition. Academic Press, San Diego, 560p. They are based on the prevailing role of physical forcing as a regulator of phytoplankton distribution. Note that the boundaries of these provinces are not fixed in time and space, but are dynamic and move under seasonal and interannual changes in physical forcing. At the first level of reduction, Longhurst recognised four principal biomes (also referred to as domains in earlier publications): the Polar Biome, the Westerlies Biome, the Trade-Winds Biome, and the Coastal Boundary Zone Biome. These four Biomes are recognisable in every major ocean basin. At the next level of reduction, the ocean basins are partitioned into provinces, roughly ten for each basin. These partitions provide a template for data analysis or for making parameter assignments on a global scale.
IHO IHO Sea Areas   This dataset represents the boundaries of the major oceans and seas of the world. The source for the boundaries is the publication 'Limits of Oceans & Seas, Special Publication No. 23' published by the International Hydrographic Organization in 1953.
GADM GADM database of Global Administrative Areas   GADM is a spatial database of the location of the world's administrative areas (or adminstrative boundaries) for use in GIS and similar software. Administrative areas in this database are countries and lower level subdivisions such as provinces, departments, bibhag, bundeslander, daerah istimewa, fivondronana, krong, landsvæðun, opština, sous-préfectures, counties, and thana. GADM describes where these administrative areas are (the "spatial features"), and for each area it provides some attributes, such as the name and variant names.