Geospatial Interest Group (GIG) Charter

TDWG Interest Group


Reed Beaman
Peabody Museum of Natural History
Yale University
170 Whitney Ave
New Haven, CT  06520

Core Members

  • Arthur Chapman - Expert in best practices for geospatially relevant biodiversity data.
  • Phillip “Flip” Dibner (Ecosystem Associates, OGC) - Principal contact in OGC EONRE WG; knowledge of OGC/ISO specs relevant to TDWG.
  • Paul Flemons (Australian Museum) - Biodiversity web mapping, geospatial modeling.
  • Chris Frazier (University of New Mexico) - Comprehensive understanding of relationship between geospatial and biological domains.
  • Patricia Mergen (African Museum) - Itineraries and visualization tools
  • Javier de la Torre (Madrid) - Interoperability expert, especially relating to OGC and TDWG standards.
  • Aimee Stewart (Univ. of Kansas) - GIS expert, spatial data libraries and feature catalogues.
  • David Vieglais (Univ. of Kansas) - Interoperability; high performance computational support for organism distribution modeling
  • John Wieczorek (UC Berkeley) - Georeferencing expert; Darwin Core liaison


The GIG's mission is to foster informed use of geospatial information in the context of biology and vice versa. This Interest Group will facilitate adoption and integration of standards, specifications, best practices, and technology between the biological and geospatial communities.

The GIG has responsibility for how geospatial standards from other organizations (e.g., OGC, ISO) are implemented in TDWG specifications. GIG members may play a facilitating role within other TDWG subgroups to promote the development of applicability and interoperability standards relating to the overlap between biological and geospatial information.

Becoming Involved

This group welcomes participation from interested parties from both the biological and geospatial perspectives. Members of the group are interested in standards and technologies for analyzing and visualizing biodiversity data in a spatial context. Experts in geographic standards realize that biological information poses considerable challenges to geospatial data integration.

Participants involved in other TDWG groups that utilize geospatial information are strongly encouraged to participate to assist in the development of applicability statements and interoperability test beds.

The TDWG process requires that new Task Groups be launched through an Interest Group. The GIG can facilitate establishment of new Task Groups that relate to geospatial standards and applications. Please contact the Convener or Core Members to discuss potential projects.

History and Context

This group was originally formed as the Spatial Data Subgroup in 2001, changed to the Geospatial Information Subgroup in 2004, and is now constituted as an Interest Group to conform with TDWG's new structure and process.

There is a growing collaborative interest between this group and members of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Earth Observation and Natural Resources and Environment Working Group (EONRE WG).


A very common entry point to biological information is through associated geospatial information, for example, the latitude and longitude of a specimen collection or the name for the location of a specimen collection. Every observation or collection of an organism from a natural environment has a time and place associated with its occurrence. Associating organism occurrence with quantitative map coordinates allows us to address numerous informatics, biological research and practical management problems. Mapping and analyzing geographic distributions of organisms or communities is a basic requirement in environmental management.

Founding members of this interest group recognized that there is a broader geospatial standards community addressing issues highly relevant to TDWG. There is a need to appraise and facilitate use of generic standards within biological community. A major goal of the GIG is to examine geospatial standards and to make recommendations for their use in biological information systems. The GIG is also in a position to advice geospatial standards groups on bioinformatics.

The GIG is the appropriate venue for organising and spawning new geospatially related Task Groups for TDWG. Task Group examples include but are not limited to

  • interoperability experiments that crosscut TDWG and OGC specifications
  • defining applicability standards based on use of existing (e.g., OGC, ISO) geospatial standards
  • providing recommendations on the use of named geographic areas within biological data
  • managing reference lists of names/codes for administrative regions (e.g., the old TDWG areas standard)


  Last Modified: 26 November 2006