Submitting Data to BIOS

Biogeographic Information and Observation System (BIOS)

Submitting data to BIOS serves many important functions. Besides providing for maximum utility of your study results, sharing your data with other Department staff and Partners may stimulate collaboration between scientists with similar objectives. Inventory study results posted to BIOS will help staff in other regions or parts of the state determine the need and priority for additional inventory work, and add to the growing body of biological occurrence data. BIOS promotes access to the most current biological data available that, as the data library grows, will lead to improved science-based management and research decisions. Finally, BIOS fulfills a data management and stewardship function ensuring data integrity over time.

Guidelines for Contributors

Data and information quality affect data value. To maximize the utility and quality of data and information in BIOS, contributed data must:

  1. Be submitted in electronic form
  2. Contain geographic locations of biological observations
  3. Include attributes that define the observational data (who, what, when)
  4. Include the minimum metadata required by CDFW

For additional details please continue reading below, or feel free to contact us with questions.

To submit data, please contact the BIOS Coordinator.

Contract Language

If you are contracting out for data development or collection, please use the language below to insure proper data guidelines are followed:

"All data and associated metadata collected by or created under this contract is a required deliverable of this contract and becomes the property of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and not of the contracted party. In addition, CDFW holds exclusive rights to the publication of these data. All data deliverables should be budgeted for and included in the project timeline as a part of this contract. A condition of final payment on this contract shall include the delivery of all related data assets. Geospatial data must be delivered in an industry-standard spatial data format (link opens in new windowEsri-readable) where applicable and documented with metadata in accordance with the CDFW Minimum Metadata Standards ("

Additional Details

Spatial information for observations or locations can be provided as a shapefile, or as tabular geospatial coordinates in either geographic (i.e., Latitude/ Longitude) or projected (e.g., Universal Transverse Mercator, UTM) format. We will project the data (if necessary) to California Teale Albers, NAD83, but you can submit the data in any format (please note format with your submission). Please contact us if you have data in text form that you believe would be a valuable contribution to BIOS. In some cases, a partner may be funded to gather and process data in these formats.

Attributes associated with the spatial data should include information pertinent to observational data (e.g., the observer, date of observation, what was observed, how many were observed). A clear definition of the content of each field should be provided in the metadata. For example, the definition of a field containing the number of individuals counted at a given site should include the count methods (e.g., observation, remotely sensed), the units counted (e.g., colonies, individuals, pairs), and a brief description of the precision or accuracy (e.g., actual counts, estimates, error rates if applicable).

Metadata Guidelines are available to help the contributor prepare information about the organization, content, and methods associated with the data submitted. Additional assistance in preparing metadata will be provided if requested. For the purposes of BIOS, metadata include both the traditional geographic attributes associated with a dataset, and traditional scientific reporting information including a description of the purpose and intended uses of the data, methods, data limitations, and assumptions made as part of the study design.

We suggest that contributors explore the BIOS website to see how data are displayed in the BIOS Viewer. The contributor may wish to arrange the order of the fields within the tabular data to ensure that the data most relevant to the user are displayed at the beginning of the table. Likewise, some fields can be deleted from the version of the dataset displayed in the BIOS Viewer, but can remain in the original dataset. In this case, the contributor should specify whether the original dataset (including all fields) or the version modified for the Viewer should be distributed when requested by a BIOS user.

Contributed data are generally either made available to the public or limited to CDFW employees and Authorized Partners in other government agencies and non-government organizations. However, a contributor can limit access to selected groups and/or individuals within CDFW and the participating organizations. Contributors should specify Access Constraints (viewing restrictions), if any, when submitting data to BIOS. Unrestricted access will enable the public to view the data.

Please email a complete copy of the dataset including metadata to the BIOS Coordinator. For datasets larger than 15 MB, please work with the BIOS Coordinator on an appropriate transfer method.

Following acceptance of your data, you will be notified when your data have been processed and uploaded to BIOS. If you have questions about submitting data for display in the BIOS Data Viewer, please contact the BIOS Coordinator.

Our mailing address is:

Biogeographic Data Branch
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
1416 9th Street, Suite 1266
Sacramento, CA 95814