Entering bounding box metadata in Dataverse

Providing geospatial metadata in Dataverse

Recently, the senior researchers' assembly discussed the need to visualize the availability of datasets at the IISG. While more advanced options are being discussed, a simple and easy to implement method would be to use the geospatial metadata fields provided in Dataverse.

To edit the geospatial metadata to your dataset in Dataverse, make sure you are logged in. Go to your specific dataset, click edit dataset on the right, click metadata and scroll down to the header Geospatial Metadata, which is usually found close to the bottom of the screen.

The image below highlights the section after you have expanded the Geospatial Metadata header by clicking on it.

Figure 1: Screenshot of geospatial metadata fields in Dataverse

In the fields depicted, first enter information on the country or nation and the type of geographic units. Click on the blue question marks to retrieve more information. For example, for a dataset on villages in Niger, you could enter the information as depicted in the image below.

Figure 2: Screenshot of some geospatial metadata fields filled out in Dataverse

Finally, we want to enter the information on the so called bounding boxes, the smallest rectangle that you could draw to incorporate the spatial area of interest, here, the country. To retrieve that information enter the country's 2 letter ISO_3166 in the search box below and hit the blue run query button. You will see that by default NE for Niger, our example, is filled out. A list of two letter ISO codes is provided via Wikipedia.

Enter the ISO country code

Now we need to copy paste the information on the latitudes and longitudes in the Dataverse metadata fields. For the country of Niger it would look like Figure 3 below. Once you are done, please hit the save button on the top of the page to preserve your changes.

Figure 3: Screenshot of geospatial metadata fields filled out including longitudes and latitudes describing the bounding box.

More advanced cases

There are two more advanced cases that would require a little extra effort. First, it could be that your dataset is on multiple countries, or that a single country in a historical dataset now consists of multiple contemporary countries. In these cases, simply click on the most right + signs to generate additional metadata fields for additional countries.

The other more advanced case, is when you would like to describe a region that doesn't properly fit with country borders. In that instance, you could use an online tool to retrieve the four corners of a bounding box. For example, in the screenshot below you see the bounding box for Niger. By changing the dropdown menu in the lower left corner to TSV or CSV(raw) you are able to retrieve the two coordinates needed to create the bounding box.

Note that the order of the numbers is different from the order in which Dataverse asks for them. The order given in the tool is: westLongitude, southLatitude, eastLongitude, Northlatitude.

Don't worry too much about small deviations in coordinates between the tools shown.

Figure 4: Klokan Technologies tool that allows you to draw bounding boxes for regions other than countries.