Finding data

If data is published it must also be findable. The more complex the data, the more advanced the search system must be in order to be able to find that what is needed for research or analysis. GBIF data are searchable in various ways via data portals.

GBIF data portal

The GBIF data portal is a service that provides access to almost 400 million data on the occurrence of plants, animals and micro-organisms from all over the world, shared through the GBIF network.

In principle, the GBIF portal provides access to two types of data:

  • Species occurrence data, detailing which individual species has been found or observed at a specific time and place.
  • Names and taxonomic classifications of organisms, including information about both scientific and vernacular names, and information on the taxonomic hierarchy of those names.

GBIF does not use one single standard taxonomic classification or a single list that includes every species name ever published. The GBIF species lists serve primarily to facilitate further searches within the species occurrence data.

The strength of the GBIF portal is that most data are provided with georeference information and consequently can be projected onto maps for various types of use. The search functions within the GBIF portal are advanced and it is possible to filter data according to different characteristics, e.g. to find all badgers observed in England in the period 1975 - 1995, or all mammals from the Rotterdam Natural History Museum collection with an associated photo included in the data.


The GBIF portal includes a comprehensive tutorial available in multiple languages. The English-language online tutorial can be found through this link (

Web services

The electronic services offered by the GBIF portal are just as important as the online GBIF portal. Through a series of web services, it is possible to automatically retrieve all types of information for local use. For further info on the GBIF web services, see

Other portals

Data available through the GBIF portal are often available through other portals as well, if the data owner agrees to this. These portals often have a thematic character. Current and properly working (thematic) portals include:

  • BioFresh portal, an international portal for freshwater biodiversity data (
  • VertNet portal for access to worldwide vertebrate data: this uses the same tools and data standards as GBIF (
  • Antabif, a thematic data portal with data on the Antarctic. Just as the VertNet portal, this portal runs on the standards and tools used by GBIF. In contrast to the general GBIF portal, this portal provides more specific information about Antarctic biodiversity (