Home Documentation Overview GLOBE Geographic Entities

GLOBE Geographic Entities

When entering a new case, GLOBE will ask you to select from a drop-down menu the “geographic entity” of your case. The Geographic Entity refers to the most accurate geographic representation of your case, for example “watershed”, “town”, or “protected area”.  Below is a table of standardized names of these entities along with definitions and examples. Please choose the most accurate representation of your case from the drop-down list.

NOTE It is always best to specify and map the precise site geometry corresponding to the extent of the geographic entity of the study site, corresponding to the data point/record provided in each case. While it is common in the literature to represent many different types of geographic entities using a single point, this is only appropriate for point samples (eg. soil samples) and smaller study sites (<< 100 km2 / 1 GLU), such as field plots and archaeological sites. Use “unknown” (below) when very poor georeferencing of sites is the only possible way (no information provided by source), such as when points must be used to describe large areas, like provinces or center points of large study areas or surveys   Failure to specify and map a precise site geometry will result in low data quality scores for your GLOBE case.

Geographic Entity Names, Definitions & Examples

Code Name Geometry Definition Examples
archaeological_site Archaeological site Points(s) An archaeological site with area less 100 hectares Archaeological research sites <100 hectares (larger see archaeological complex)
archaeological_complex Archaeological complex polygon(s) An area of archaeological observation with area greater than 100 ha. An archaeological site group, or large urban complex or cluster.
built_structure Built structure polygon(s) Human built structures, including buildings, airports, dams, hospitals, etc. Note: Linear structures including irrigation canals have their own geoentity. School, hospital, power station, airports.
catchment Catchment polygon(s) An area of land where surface water converges to a single point at a lower elevation, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody. Map or geometry of drainage basin, catchment area provided.
city City polygon(s) A relatively large human settlement with an an administrative or political boundary Paris, New York City, Baltimore, Oxford
country Country polygon(s) Most commonly a sovereign state, or a state occupied by another sovereign state Germany, Algeria, Mexico
county County polygon(s) County/Parish (political unit), could include a large city Geometry of county area provided, or administrative boundary of county available. Ex: Baltimore County
district District  polygon(s) An administrative division Congressional districts (USA) Arrondissement (Belgium)
farm Farm polygon(s) Land managed for agriculture by some entity. May be composed of multiple parcels. Household farms, commercial farms, or state farms.
farm field Farm field polygon(s) A single managed field within a farm. Map or geometry of field area provided, or exact location of field provided.
forest Forest polygon(s) Administrative area defined as forest or managed for forestry. Map or geometry of forest boundaries provided, or administrative boundaries of forest available. Ex: Sequoia National Forest
gps_point GPS point point(s) Point location(s) obtained from GPS Geographic coordinates are presented and there is no area defined for them (ie. plots, parcels, etc)
island Island polygon(s) Any sub-continental land that is completely surrounded by water Hawaiian islands
lake Lake polygon(s) A body of water surrounded by land larger and deeper than ponds that are not part of an ocean. Lake Michigan
linear_structure Linear Built Structure Line Human built linear structures including railroad lines, walls, irrigations canals that are best described by a line geometry. Railroad lines, irrigation canal, etc.
municipality Municipality polygon(s) A municipality is usually an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government or jurisdiction. Also refers to third-order administrative divisions. cities and towns with self-governing powers
pasture Pasture polygon(s) An area of land used to graze livestock Map or geometry of pasture area provided, or exact location of pasture provided.
principality Principality polygon(s) Either a monarchical feudatory or a sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch. Ex. Monaco
parcel Parcel polygon(s) An area of land with known boundaries and ownership. Geometry of parcel area provided, or exact location of parcel provided.
park Park polygon(s) Land managed for public use by some entity. Map or geometry of park area provided, or administrative boundaries of park available. Ex: Yosemite National Park
plot Plot polygon(s) Small areas used for research/monitoring purposes (< 100 km2 / 1 GLU). Geometry of plot area provided, or exact location of plot provided.
point_area Point Area polygon(s) Area around defined center point. Ex: From fu_2009: “Area of #ha around point XY”, or “Area within #km of point XY”, “Village covering #ha, centerd at point XY”
populated_point Populated Point point(s) Approximate point location of an unspecified populated area. Used when it is not known whether the populated area is a city, town, village, or other agglomeration of built structures where people live and work that would be better described by a geo-entity with a spatial extent but is lacking sufficient geographic information. Populated points automatically receive clarity scores of 2 and conformance scores of 1. A city, town, village or other populated place whose source is lacking sufficient geographic information to describe with a spatially-explicit geographic area.
protected Protected area polygon(s) A protected area: must be defined using standards. Standards for defining and mapping protected areas are at: http://www.wdpa.org/
province Province polygon(s) Province or State (US) (political unit) Ex: Manitoba, Canada; Maryland, USA
quadrat Quadrat polygon(s) Square sample areas used for research. Geometry of quadrat area provided, or exact location of quadrat provided.
region Geographic Region polygon(s) Larger area, defined by some formal or common designation (political, environmental, cultural) Ex: Amazonia
river River line(s) River. A flowing body of water larger than a Stream. Ex: The Amazon River
road Road line(s) Road, Highway Ex: Interstate 95
RS_scene Remote Sensing Image Scene polygon(s) Footprint of a remotely sensed data scene. This could include LandSat, SPOT, IKONOS, etc. Geometry or exact location of Remote Sensing scene area provided.
s_point Point point(s) Location of a sample point. Soil samples, vegetation samples (areas too small to map)
sed_archive Sediment Archive point(s) A single sediment core, or set of cores obtained within a 100 hectare area Sediment archives, including soil pollen and charcoal cores or samples for paleoecological analysis
state State polygon(s) A state is an organized community living under one government. The term state is also applied to federated states that are members of a federal union, which is the sovereign state. Ex. Ohio (USA), France (a sovereign state, but see “Country”)
stream Stream line(s) Stream. A flowing body of water smaller than a river. Ex: The Tilla Stream
study_area Study Area polygon(s) Small (<< 100 km2 / 1 GLU) author-defined study area without formal designation. Larger areas drawn on map by author in a publication.
terrain_feature Terrain Feature polygon(s) Physiographic features, including hill, mountain, beach, etc. Note: watershed, wetland, stream and river have geoentities. Hill, beach, valley, cove, peninsula, etc.
town Town polygon(s) A human settlement smaller than a city with an an administrative or political boundary Taos, New Mexico (USA)
unk_point Unknown point point(s) Point location(s) derived from an unknown method, or very rough geoferencing such as geographic points without decimal points.
unknown Unknown point Very low quality georeferencing information and/or no geographic entity available. The best way to describe sites with very low quality georeferencing- such as points used to describe large areas, like provinces, regions. Only a place name is provided, but no other information, and it is clear that the study does not refer to the entire place.
village Village polygon(s) Village (political unit) Geometry of village area provided, or administrative boundary of village available. Ex: Xiejia Village
watershed Watershed polygons(s) Area that makes up the watershed of a body of water Ex: Chesapeake Bay watershed.
wetland Wetland polygon(s) A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. Florida Everglades (USA), The Pantanal (Brazil)
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