Top tip: Using filters and facets on GBIF.org

A few tips on how to use filters and facets on GBIF.org to get exactly the data and other content you need

Occurrence search filtered by location
Occurrence search filtered by location polygon

Search improvements are central to the new version of GBIF.org. We’ll skip the back story to focus on how the new search works with a few quick examples of the range of filters available on left side of the screen throughout the new site.

Simple searching, with species occurrences

This short video shows the basic functions using the most common example—looking for species occurrence records.

  1. The example shows a free-text search for Lasius fuliginosus,
  2. Note that the system recognizes and suggests as a scientific name.
  3. When clicking on the ‘Map’ view of your occurrence search results, you may receive an alert that the location coordinates of some records are flagged as suspicious. Click ‘Yes, hide them’ to exclude records with suspicious coordinates (it’s applied by the ‘Location’ filter).
  4. You can limit the results to a single country—in this case, Germany—and a specific year—2010.
  5. Notice that when selecting country, you’re presented with a dynamic list of countries, listed in descending order of the most occurrences for your search. If the country you’re interested in is not shown, just type it in.
  6. Once you’re happy with the result, go ahead and download the data.

The ‘Location’ filter, which only appears in occurrence search, also allows you to restrict the results by drawing a geographical boundary. This video shows how easily you can use it filter for data across national borders.

Notice how the species’ scientific name was suggested as we were typing? And if you’re interested in more than one location, you can draw multiple shapes-either squares or polygons-to your liking.

Advanced occurrence search

Not all of the content on the site requires such high-powered filtering, but the occurrence search allows you to filter results by additional facets. We’ve placed some of these useful but more specialized filters in the Advanced search tab. Click on ‘Advanced’, and you can start filtering by depth, publishing country, collection protocol, among others:

Going beyond occurrences

This structure of filters and facets is now used across all content types on GBIF.org. The options available to you update and refine as you change, refine or expand the kind of content you’re searching.

If you’re unsure whether to search in occurrences, species, datasets, publishers, or resources, don’t worry—just search everything, and you’ll see site-wide results grouped by content type.