Atlas data

The Atlas of Living Australia (Atlas) contains a range of biodiversity data covering various aspects of the lives and nature of Australian species.

See also:

Types of records

Record data in the Atlas represents either:

  • a specimen—an organism, photograph, sound or other multimedia file of a species that has been scientifically collected by, and managed in, a natural history collection—a museum or herbarium


  • an observation—a record of the sighting of an organism by an individual or member of an organisation such as a community environment group. Observations may be supported by a photograph, sound or other multimedia file.

These data are supplemented by:

  • images—often drawn from Morphbank
  • literature describing the species—usually taken from the Biodiversity Heritage Library
  • molecular DNA data—drawn from BOLD
  • identification keys—often taken from IdentifyLife
  • species interaction data—often from the Species Interactions of Australia Database
  • species profile (descriptive) data drawn from a wide range of sources, including TRIN Wiki
  • nomenclatural data taken from National Species Lists
  • information on the data provider
  • indicators of the conservation or other sensitivity status, eg conservation sensitive species
  • geospatial, geopolitical and environmental layers used in the Spatial Portal as an overlay on maps of species occurrence data.

See Systems supported by the Atlas for information on the information systems used and supported by the Atlas to provide data.

Core Atlas data

For both specimen and observation records core data used in the Atlas includes:

  • species (or genus) name
  • location of specimen/observation—latitude and longitude to varying degrees of precision and accuracy
  • date of specimen collection/observation

Additional data fields are used according to the data standard applicable to the type of organism.

Profile data is also core to the Atlas, and may include:

  • morphology
  • life stages
  • behaviour
  • method of reproduction
  • habitat
  • distribution
  • commercial importance
  • conservation status
  • identification characteristics.

Geospatial layers are used in the Spatial Portal to provide environmental, geopolitical and geographic contexts to the distribution of specimens/observations.

Data standards used in the Atlas

Several standards are preferred for data provided to the Atlas:

  • Darwin Core (DwC) —for specimen and observation records of fauna provided by museums; and for all data provided by individuals, community groups and citizen science groups
  • ABCD | HISPID—for specimen records of flora provided by herbaria
  • Microorganism data schema—for records provided by microorganism collections
  • Seedbank Data Schema—for data provided by Australian seedbanks
  • Botanic Gardens Data Schema—for data provided by Australian botanic gardens
  • Morphbank Metadata Schema—for sharing images through Morphbank

Conservation status codes

The Atlas applies an icon on a species’s home page if that species has a conservation status under Commonwealth or state legislation, or is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

See Atlas data sets for a list of the codes used in the Atlas.