Understanding the Data
Custom Data Services
In addition to our online data offerings, NatureServe can provide custom data services designed to meet specific user needs. NatureServe and its network of natural heritage member programs maintain data on the status, distribution, and habitat requirements of thousands of species and ecological communities. We are particularly known for the detailed and reliable locality data ("element occurrences") that document the precise locations for rare and endangered species and threatened ecological communities.
Element occurrence data relating to a single state or province can normally be obtained directly from the relevant natural heritage program (see Visit Local Programs). NatureServe, however, maintains a consolidated database that enables it to service data requests that span multiple jurisdictions. Custom data services range from creating basic species distribution lists to conducting complex GIS-based analyses.
Data Request Types
- Basic Data Requests: Basic data requests typically involve basic species lists with conservation status ranks, state or province-scale species distribution information, or ecological community descriptions for a defined geographic area. While this type of information is publicly available online on our NatureServe Explorer web site, NatureServe can provide it to users upon request in a variety of electronic formats (e.g. Access database, Excel spreadsheet, .dbf table, etc.).
- General Locational Data Requests: General locational data requests typically involve datasets and/or analyses of species data and distribution at coarse geographic scales, such as county, watershed, federal lands, equal area hexagon, ecoregion, etc. These requests usually involve some level of data analysis.
- Specific Locational Data Requests: These requests include species information delivered at a scale equal to or finer than the USGS 7.5-minute quadrangle. Because precise locality data for many rare and endangered species is considered sensitive, specific locational data requests often require obtaining data release permissions from each participating natural heritage program through the establishment of a data use license with the requester.
Fees for custom data requests cover staff time needed to process the request and carry out any needed analyses. Fees are calculated based on NatureServe’s standard billing rates. We offer discounts to universities, non-profits, and government agencies. Upon submission of a data request form, NatureServe will provide an estimate and follow up with any questions before any work is agreed upon.
If you would like to receive assistance with a custom data request, please fill out and return the Custom Data Request Form (76K) to our Information Products and Services Team at ProductsandServices@natureserve.org. For requests for specific locational data (see #3 above), please use the Element Occurrence Data Request Form (72K).