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Australian National Data Service Research Data Australia

Research Data Australia Content Providers Guide: Spatial and temporal coverage

A guide for contributors to Research Data Australia

Spatial and temporal coverage

Spatial and temporal coverage refers to locations in space and time, to which research collections, datasets and activities are linked. Coverage describes the spatial or temporal topics or characteristics of an entity or object. Using both spatial and temporal elements to describe a data set enriches both the context and the value of that data set.

  • Spatial coverage refers to a geographical area where data was collected, a place which is the subject of a collection, or a location which is the focus of an activity. Spatial coverage can be either a point location or an area, the latter usually a specific 'rectangle' (e.g. a bounding box) on a map or a region. This is described using geospatial coordinates for a point or an area (for example, latitude and longitude), or through the use of place or regional names (for example, Barrow Island; Gippsland, Australia). Regional names may be based on legal jurisdiction (for example, South Australia).
  • Temporal coverage examples include a time period during which data was collected or observations made, or a time period that an activity or collection is linked to intellectually or thematically, for example, 1997 to 1998; the 18th century. 

Spatial Location

Spatial location is a different RIF-CS element to spatial coverage and describes where something (such as a collection) is physically located, using geospatial coordinates such as latitude and longitude.

Good Coverage Records in Research Data Australia (RDA)

A 'good' record is one that supports researchers in finding research data, deciding if the data is useful, accessing the data, and finally re-using or re-purposing the data in further research. The Registry Interchange Format or RIF-CS is used to deliver data to the RDA online registry.

The following links will help you understand and use RIF-CS in order to maximise the potential of your geospatial data:

Further ANDS Resources

ANDS resources

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