Interface to the Global 'Biodiversity' Information Facility 'API'

A programmatic interface to the Web Service methods provided by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility ('GBIF'; <>). 'GBIF' is a database of species occurrence records from sources all over the globe. 'rgbif' includes functions for searching for taxonomic names, retrieving information on data providers, getting species occurrence records, and getting counts of occurrence records.

rgbif gives you access to data from GBIF via their REST API. GBIF versions their API - we are currently using v1 of their API. You can no longer use their old API in this package - see ?rgbif-defunct.


The rgbif package API follows the GBIF API, which has the following sections:

  • registry ( - Metadata on datasets, and contributing organizations, installations, networks, and nodes
    • rgbif functions: dataset_metrics(), dataset_search(), dataset_suggest(), datasets(), enumeration(), enumeration_country(), installations(), networks(), nodes(), organizations()
    • Registry also includes the GBIF OAI-PMH service, which includes GBIF registry data only. rgbif functions: gbif_oai_get_records(), gbif_oai_identify(), gbif_oai_list_identifiers(), gbif_oai_list_metadataformats(), gbif_oai_list_records(), gbif_oai_list_sets()
  • species ( - Species names and metadata
    • rgbif functions: name_backbone(), name_lookup(), name_suggest(), name_usage()
  • occurrences ( - Occurrences, both for the search and download APIs
    • rgbif functions: occ_count(), occ_data(), occ_download(), occ_download_cancel(), occ_download_cancel_staged(), occ_download_get(), occ_download_import(), occ_download_list(), occ_download_meta(), occ_get(), occ_issues(), occ_issues_lookup(), occ_metadata(), occ_search()

The GBIF maps API ( is not implemented in rgbif, and are meant more for intergration with web based maps.


Alternatively, install development version

occ_search(scientificName = "Ursus americanus", limit = 50)
#> Records found [8196] 
#> Records returned [50] 
#> No. unique hierarchies [1] 
#> No. media records [44] 
#> No. facets [0] 
#> Args [scientificName=Ursus americanus, limit=50, offset=0, fields=all] 
#> # A tibble: 50 × 68
#>                name        key decimalLatitude decimalLongitude
#>               <chr>      <int>           <dbl>            <dbl>
#> 1  Ursus americanus 1249277297        35.76789        -75.80894
#> 2  Ursus americanus 1229610216        44.06086        -71.92712
#> 3  Ursus americanus 1253300445        44.65481        -72.67270
#> 4  Ursus americanus 1229610234        44.06062        -71.92692
#> 5  Ursus americanus 1253314877        49.25782       -122.82786
#> 6  Ursus americanus 1272078411        44.41793        -72.70709
#> 7  Ursus americanus 1249296297        39.08590       -105.24586
#> 8  Ursus americanus 1249284297        43.68723        -72.32891
#> 9  Ursus americanus 1257415362        44.32746        -72.41007
#> 10 Ursus americanus 1253317181        43.64214        -72.52494
#> # ... with 40 more rows, and 64 more variables: issues <chr>,
#> #   datasetKey <chr>, publishingOrgKey <chr>, publishingCountry <chr>,
#> #   protocol <chr>, lastCrawled <chr>, lastParsed <chr>, crawlId <int>,
#> #   extensions <chr>, basisOfRecord <chr>, taxonKey <int>,
#> #   kingdomKey <int>, phylumKey <int>, classKey <int>, orderKey <int>,
#> #   familyKey <int>, genusKey <int>, speciesKey <int>,
#> #   scientificName <chr>, kingdom <chr>, phylum <chr>, order <chr>,
#> #   family <chr>, genus <chr>, species <chr>, genericName <chr>,
#> #   specificEpithet <chr>, infraspecificEpithet <chr>, taxonRank <chr>,
#> #   dateIdentified <chr>, year <int>, month <int>, day <int>,
#> #   eventDate <chr>, modified <chr>, lastInterpreted <chr>,
#> #   references <chr>, license <chr>, identifiers <chr>, facts <chr>,
#> #   relations <chr>, geodeticDatum <chr>, class <chr>, countryCode <chr>,
#> #   country <chr>, rightsHolder <chr>, identifier <chr>,
#> #   verbatimEventDate <chr>, datasetName <chr>, collectionCode <chr>,
#> #   verbatimLocality <chr>, gbifID <chr>, occurrenceID <chr>,
#> #   taxonID <chr>, catalogNumber <chr>, recordedBy <chr>,
#> # <chr>, institutionCode <chr>,
#> #   rights <chr>, identificationID <chr>, eventTime <chr>,
#> #   occurrenceRemarks <chr>, coordinateUncertaintyInMeters <dbl>,
#> #   informationWithheld <chr>

Or you can get the taxon key first with name_backbone(). Here, we select to only return the occurrence data.

key <- name_backbone(name='Helianthus annuus', kingdom='plants')$speciesKey
occ_search(taxonKey=key, limit=20)
#> Records found [20539] 
#> Records returned [20] 
#> No. unique hierarchies [1] 
#> No. media records [16] 
#> No. facets [0] 
#> Args [taxonKey=3119195, limit=20, offset=0, fields=all] 
#> # A tibble: 20 × 67
#>                 name        key decimalLatitude decimalLongitude
#>                <chr>      <int>           <dbl>            <dbl>
#> 1  Helianthus annuus 1249279611        34.04810       -117.79884
#> 2  Helianthus annuus 1315048347        34.04377       -116.94136
#> 3  Helianthus annuus 1253308332        29.67463        -95.44804
#> 4  Helianthus annuus 1249286909        32.58747        -97.10081
#> 5  Helianthus annuus 1305118889        18.40386        -66.04487
#> 6  Helianthus annuus 1262375813        29.82586        -95.45604
#> 7  Helianthus annuus 1262379231        34.04911       -117.80066
#> 8  Helianthus annuus 1262385911        32.78328        -96.70352
#> 9  Helianthus annuus 1265544678        32.58747        -97.10081
#> 10 Helianthus annuus 1270045172        33.92958       -117.37322
#> 11 Helianthus annuus 1265895094        42.87784       -112.43226
#> 12 Helianthus annuus 1265553900        34.12932       -118.20648
#> 13 Helianthus annuus 1269543851        29.50991        -94.50006
#> 14 Helianthus annuus 1265899487        19.45194        -96.95945
#> 15 Helianthus annuus 1265562148        29.47895        -98.51160
#> 16 Helianthus annuus 1305119137        11.86735        -83.93555
#> 17 Helianthus annuus 1265590989        34.19005       -117.31644
#> 18 Helianthus annuus 1265590198        25.76265       -100.25513
#> 19 Helianthus annuus 1305119139        11.86735        -83.93555
#> 20 Helianthus annuus 1315048128        34.03212       -117.47091
#> # ... with 63 more variables: issues <chr>, datasetKey <chr>,
#> #   publishingOrgKey <chr>, publishingCountry <chr>, protocol <chr>,
#> #   lastCrawled <chr>, lastParsed <chr>, crawlId <int>, extensions <chr>,
#> #   basisOfRecord <chr>, taxonKey <int>, kingdomKey <int>,
#> #   phylumKey <int>, classKey <int>, orderKey <int>, familyKey <int>,
#> #   genusKey <int>, speciesKey <int>, scientificName <chr>, kingdom <chr>,
#> #   phylum <chr>, order <chr>, family <chr>, genus <chr>, species <chr>,
#> #   genericName <chr>, specificEpithet <chr>, taxonRank <chr>,
#> #   dateIdentified <chr>, year <int>, month <int>, day <int>,
#> #   eventDate <chr>, modified <chr>, lastInterpreted <chr>,
#> #   references <chr>, license <chr>, identifiers <chr>, facts <chr>,
#> #   relations <chr>, geodeticDatum <chr>, class <chr>, countryCode <chr>,
#> #   country <chr>, rightsHolder <chr>, identifier <chr>,
#> #   verbatimEventDate <chr>, datasetName <chr>, collectionCode <chr>,
#> #   verbatimLocality <chr>, gbifID <chr>, occurrenceID <chr>,
#> #   taxonID <chr>, catalogNumber <chr>, recordedBy <chr>,
#> # <chr>, institutionCode <chr>,
#> #   rights <chr>, eventTime <chr>, identificationID <chr>,
#> #   coordinateUncertaintyInMeters <dbl>, occurrenceRemarks <chr>,
#> #   informationWithheld <chr>

Get the keys first with name_backbone(), then pass to occ_search()

splist <- c('Accipiter erythronemius', 'Junco hyemalis', 'Aix sponsa')
keys <- sapply(splist, function(x) name_backbone(name=x)$speciesKey, USE.NAMES=FALSE)
occ_search(taxonKey=keys, limit=5, hasCoordinate=TRUE)
#> Occ. found [2480598 (22), 2492010 (2453480), 2498387 (772689)] 
#> Occ. returned [2480598 (5), 2492010 (5), 2498387 (5)] 
#> No. unique hierarchies [2480598 (1), 2492010 (1), 2498387 (1)] 
#> No. media records [2480598 (1), 2492010 (4), 2498387 (5)] 
#> No. facets [] 
#> Args [taxonKey=2480598,2492010,2498387, hasCoordinate=TRUE, limit=5,
#>      offset=0, fields=all] 
#> First 10 rows of data from 2480598
#> # A tibble: 5 × 82
#>                      name        key decimalLatitude decimalLongitude
#>                     <chr>      <int>           <dbl>            <dbl>
#> 1 Accipiter erythronemius  920169861       -20.55244        -56.64104
#> 2 Accipiter erythronemius  920184036       -20.76029        -56.71314
#> 3 Accipiter erythronemius 1001096527       -27.58000        -58.66000
#> 4 Accipiter erythronemius 1001096518       -27.92000        -59.14000
#> 5 Accipiter erythronemius  686297260         5.26667        -60.73333
#> # ... with 78 more variables: issues <chr>, datasetKey <chr>,
#> #   publishingOrgKey <chr>, publishingCountry <chr>, protocol <chr>,
#> #   lastCrawled <chr>, lastParsed <chr>, crawlId <int>, extensions <chr>,
#> #   basisOfRecord <chr>, taxonKey <int>, kingdomKey <int>,
#> #   phylumKey <int>, classKey <int>, orderKey <int>, familyKey <int>,
#> #   genusKey <int>, speciesKey <int>, scientificName <chr>, kingdom <chr>,
#> #   phylum <chr>, order <chr>, family <chr>, genus <chr>, species <chr>,
#> #   genericName <chr>, specificEpithet <chr>, taxonRank <chr>,
#> #   coordinateUncertaintyInMeters <dbl>, year <int>, month <int>,
#> #   day <int>, eventDate <chr>, lastInterpreted <chr>, license <chr>,
#> #   identifiers <chr>, facts <chr>, relations <chr>, geodeticDatum <chr>,
#> #   class <chr>, countryCode <chr>, country <chr>, recordedBy <chr>,
#> #   catalogNumber <chr>, institutionCode <chr>, locality <chr>,
#> #   collectionCode <chr>, gbifID <chr>, modified <chr>, identifier <chr>,
#> #   created <chr>, occurrenceID <chr>, associatedSequences <chr>,
#> #   higherClassification <chr>, taxonID <chr>, sex <chr>,
#> #   establishmentMeans <chr>, continent <chr>, references <chr>,
#> #   institutionID <chr>, dynamicProperties <chr>, fieldNumber <chr>,
#> #   language <chr>, type <chr>, preparations <chr>,
#> #   occurrenceStatus <chr>, rights <chr>, higherGeography <chr>,
#> #   nomenclaturalCode <chr>, verbatimEventDate <chr>, endDayOfYear <chr>,
#> #   georeferenceVerificationStatus <chr>, datasetName <chr>,
#> #   verbatimLocality <chr>, otherCatalogNumbers <chr>,
#> #   startDayOfYear <chr>, accessRights <chr>, collectionID <chr>

Make a simple map of species occurrences.

splist <- c('Cyanocitta stelleri', 'Junco hyemalis', 'Aix sponsa')
keys <- sapply(splist, function(x) name_backbone(name=x)$speciesKey, USE.NAMES=FALSE)
dat <- occ_search(taxonKey=keys, limit=100, return='data', hasCoordinate=TRUE)
datdf <- ldply(dat)

  • Please report any issues or bugs.
  • License: MIT
  • Get citation information for rgbif in R doing citation(package = 'rgbif')
  • Please note that this project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By participating in this project you agree to abide by its terms.

This package is part of a richer suite called SPOCC Species Occurrence Data, along with several other packages, that provide access to occurrence records from multiple databases.


rgbif 0.9.5

  • occ_search() now has faceted search. This feature is not in occ_data() as that function focuses on getting occurrence data quickly, so will not do get facet data. This means that a new slot is available in the output object from occ_search(), namely facets. Note that rgbif has had faceted search for the species search route (name_lookup()) and the registry search route (dataset_search()) for quite a while. (#215)
  • new function (occ_facet()) to facilitate retrieving only facet data, so no occurrence data is retrieved. (#215) (#229)
  • A suite of new parameters added to occ_search() and occ_data() following addition the GBIF search API: subgenusKey, repatriated, phylumKey, kingdomKey, classKey, orderKey, familyKey, genusKey, establishmentMeans, protocol, license, organismId, publishingOrg, stateProvince, waterBody, locality (#216) (#224)
  • New parameter spellCheck added to occ_search() and occ_data() that if TRUE spell checks anything passed to the search parameter (same as q parameter on GBIF API; which is a full text search) (#227)
  • New function occ_spellcheck to spell check search terms, returns TRUE if no spelling problems, or a list with info on suggestions if not.
  • Both occ_search() and occ_data() now have ability to support queries where limit=0, which for one should be possible and not fail as we did previously, and second, this makes it so that you can do faceted searches (See above) and not have to wait for occurrence records to be returned. (#222)
  • MULTIPOLYGON well known text features now supported in the GBIF API. Previously, you could not query geometry with more than one polygon (POLYGON), but now you can. NOTE: as of this writing MULTIPOLYGON calls are erroring, but I think it's temporary, and will be back on line soon (#222)
  • Improved docs for occ_count(), especially for the set of allowed parameter options that the GBIF count API supports
  • occ_count() gains new parameter typeStatus to indicate the specimen type status.
  • When no results found, the data slot now returns NULL instead of a character string
  • Fixes to gbif_photos(): 1) Mapbox URLs to their JS and CSS assets were out of date, and API key needed. 2) In RStudio, the table view was outputting errors due to serving files on localhost:<port> instead of simply opening the file; fixed now by checking platform and using simple open file command appropriate for the OS. (#228) (#235)

rgbif 0.9.4

  • Now using tibble in most of the package when the output is a data.frame (#204)
  • New vignette Taxonomic Names for discussing some common names problems users may run into, and some strategies for dealing with taxonomic names when using GBIF (#208) (#209)
  • Replaced is() with inherits(), no longer importing methods() (#219)
  • Improved docs for registry functions. Not all options were listed for the data parameter, now they are (#210)
  • Fixed documentation error in gbifmap() man file (#212) thanks to @rossmounce
  • Fixed bug in internal parser within occ_download(), in which strings to parse were not being parsed correctly if spaces weren't in the right place, should be more robust now, and added tests (#217). Came from
  • The parameter type was being silently ignored in a number of registry functions. fixed that. (#211)

rgbif 0.9.3

  • occ_data() and occ_search() gain ability to more flexibly deal with inputs to the geometry parameter. Previously, long WKT strings passed to occ_search() or occ_data() would fail because URIs can only be so long. Another option is to use the download API (see ?downloads). This version adds the ability to choose what to do with long WKT strings via the geom_big parameter: asis (same as previous version), bbox which detects if a WKT sting is likely too long, and creates a bounding box from the WKT string then once data is retrived, clips the result to the original WKT string; axe uses the geoaxe package to chop up the input WKT polygon into many, with toggles in the new parameters geom_size and geom_n. (#197) (#199)
  • As part of this change, when >1 geometry value passed, or if geom_big="axe", then named elements of the output get names geom1, geom2, geom3, etc. instead of the input WKT strings - this is because WKT strings can be very long, and make for very awkward named access to elements. The original WKT strings can still be accessed via attr(result, "args")$geometry
  • code tidying throughout the package
  • Fix parsing bug in name_usage() function, see commit e88cf01cc11cb238d44222346eaeff001c0c637e
  • Fix to tests to use new testthat fxn names, e.g., expect_gt() instead of expect_more_than()
  • Fix to occ_download() to parse error correctly when empty body passed from GBIF (#202)

rgbif 0.9.2

  • New function occ_data() - its primary purpose to perform faster data requests. Whereas occ_search() gives you lots of data, including taxonomic hierarchies and media records, occ_data() only gives occurrence data. (#190)
  • Replaced XML with xml2 (#192)
  • Speed ups to the following functions due to use of data.table::rbindlist() for fast list to data.frame coercion: name_lookup(), name_backbone(), name_suggest(), name_usage(), and parsenames() (#191)
  • Changes to httr usage to comply with changes in httr >= v1.1.0: now setting encoding explicitly to UTF-8 and parsing all data manually, using the internal function function(x) content(x, "text", encoding = "UTF-8") (#195)
  • Fix to internal function move_col() to not fail on fields that don't exist. Was failing sometimes when no latitude or longitude columns were returned. (#196)

rgbif 0.9.0

  • New set of functions (gbif_oai_*()) for working with GBIF registry OAI-PMH service. Now importing oai package to make working with GBIF's OAI-PMH service easier (#183)
  • Added code of conduct (#180)
  • Now sending user-agent header with all requests from this package to GBIF's servers indicating what version of rgbif and that it's an ropensci package. Looks like r-curl/0.9.4 httr/1.0.0 rOpenSci(rgbif/0.9.0), with whatever versions of each package you're using. We also pass a user-agent string with the header X-USER-AGENT in case the useragent header gets stripped somewhere along the line (#185)
  • New function gbif_citation() helps get citations for datasets eith using the occurrence search API via occ_search() or the downloads API via occ_downlad() (#178) (#179)
  • Using importFrom instead of import in all cases now.
  • Parameter collectorName changed to recordedBy (#184)
  • Fix to occ_download_meta() print method to handle 1 or more predicate results (#186)
  • Fix to occ_issues() to work with return=data and return=all occ_search() output (#188)

rgbif 0.8.9

  • Updated terraformer.js javascript code included in the package along with an update in that codebase (#156)
  • The email parameter now NULL by default in the function occ_download(), so that if not provided or not set in options, then function fails. (#173)
  • Additional explanation added to the ?downloads help file.
  • Added internal checks to elevation() to check for coordinates that are impossible (e.g., latitude > 90), not complete (e.g., lat given, long not given), or points at 0,0 (just warns, doesn't stop). (#176) thanks @luisDVA
  • General code tidying across package
  • A route changed for getting images for a taxon within the /species route, fix to function name_usage() (#174)
  • Fix to occ_search() to remove a block of code to do synonym checking. This block of code was used if the parameter scientificName was passed, and checked if the name given was a synonym; if yes, we used the accepted name according to the GBIF backbone taxonomy; if no, we proceeded with the name given by the user. We removed the block of code because the GBIF API now essentially does this behind the scenes server side. See for examples. (#175)

rgbif 0.8.8

  • Additional tests added for gbif_photos() and gbif_names() (#170)
  • Fixed a few tests that were not passing on CRAN.

rgbif 0.8.6

  • New set of functions with names occ_download*() for working with the GBIF download API. This is the same service as using the GBIF website, but via an API. See ?downloads. (#154) (#167)
  • Explicitly import non-base R pkg functions, so importing from utils, methods, and stats (#166)
  • Fixed problem with httr v1 where empty list not allowed to pass to the query parameter in GET (#163)

rgbif 0.8.4

  • New functions for the /enumerations GBIF API route: enumeration() and enumeration_country(). Many parts of the GBIF API make use of enumerations, i.e. controlled vocabularies for specific topics - and are available via these functions. (#152)
  • elevation() now requires an API key (#148)
  • The V8 package an Import now, used to do WKT read/create with use of the Javascript library Terraformer ( Replaces packages sp and rgeos, which are no longer imported (#155)
  • Changed occ_search() parameter spatialIssues to hasGeospatialIssues (#151)
  • Added note to docs about difference between /search and /count services, and how they work. (#150)
  • Added tests for habitat parameter in name_lookup() (#149)
  • Dropped plyr from Imports (#159)
  • Dropped stringr from Imports (#160)
  • Dropped maps and grid packages from Imports (#161)
  • Looping over records with limit and start parameters was in some cases resulting in duplicate records returned. Problem fixed. (#157)

rgbif 0.8.0

  • All example moved to \dontrun (#139)
  • README fixes for html (#141)
  • Fixed documentation in occ_search() to give correct values for default and max limit and start parameters (#145)
  • Changed internal GET helper function to properly pass on error message (#144)
  • Replaced assertthat::assert_that() with stopifnot() to have one less dependency (#134)
  • Fixed occ_search() to allow ability to query by only publishingCountry, that is, with no other parameters if desired (#137)
  • Fixed bug in internal GET() helper function to just pass NULL to the query parameter when the list of length 0 passed, since it caused requests to fail in some cases.
  • Fix to name_lookup() to force a logical entry for certain parameters - before this fix if the correct logical param was not passed, the GBIF API went with its default parameter (#135)
  • Fixed bug in name_backbone() due to change in namelkupparser() helper function - fixes parsing for verbose output (#136)
  • Fixed some broken URLs in occ_search() documentation (#140)

rgbif 0.7.7

  • New function occ_issues() to subset data from occ_search() based on GBIF issues. (#) (#122)
  • Related to the last bullet, GBIF issues now are returned by default in occ_search() results, and are intentionally moved to the beginning of the column order of the data to be more obvious. (#102)
  • occ_search() now returns all data fields by default. The default setting for the fields parameter is all - but can be changed. See ?occ_search
  • New function gbif_names() to view highlighted terms in name results from a call to name_lookup(). (#114)
  • New functions: occ_issues_lookup() to lookup GBIF issues based on code name or full issue name, and gbif_issues() to print the entire issues table.
  • Completely replaced RCurl with httr
  • Completely replaced RJSONIO with jsonlite. Should see slight performance in JSON parsing with jsonlite.
  • Default number of records in occ_search() now 500; was 25. (#113)
  • Vignette for old version of GBIF API removed.
  • New vignette for cleaning data via GBIF issues added. (#132)
  • Functions for working with old GBIF API removed, now defunct. (#116)
  • Now better parsing for some functions (organizations(), datasets(), networks(), nodes(), installations()) to data.frames when possible. (#117)
  • Added further help to warn users when searching on ranges in latitude or longitude in occ_search() (#123)
  • callopts parameter changed to ... throughout all functions. Now pass on options to httr as named lists or functions. (#130)
  • Beware that GBIF data is becoming Darwin Core compliant - so many parameters throughout this package have changed from sentence_case to camelCase.
  • dataset_search() and dataset_suggest() gain new parameter publishingOrg
  • Default for limit parameter changed to 100 for dataset functions: dataset_search(), dataset_suggest(), and datasets().
  • Default for limit parameter changed to 100 for registry functions: installations(), networks(), organizations, and nodes().
  • Parameter changes in networks(): name, code, modifiedsince, startindex, and maxresults gone; new parameters query, identifier, identifierType, limit, and start
  • Parameter changes in nodes(): new parameters identifier, identifierType, limit, and start
  • occ_search() failed sometimes on species that were not found. Fixed. (#112)
  • Added better handling of some server errors to pass on to user. (#115) (#118)
  • Fixed incorrect parsing for some cases in occ_search() (#119)
  • Fixed bad parsing on output from name_lookup() (#120)
  • Fixed single map option in gbif_photos() that caused map with no data. (#121)
  • Fixed some parameter names in name_() functions according to changes in the GBIF API spec, and fixed documentation to align with GBIF API changes, and added note about maximum limit. (#124) (#127) (#129) Thanks to @willgearty !
  • Fixed internals of occ_search() so that user can pass in multiple values to the issue parameter. (#107)
  • Fixed URL to tutorial on ropensci website (#105) Thanks @fxi !

rgbif 0.7.0

  • occ_search() now has a dplyr like summary output when return='all'. See ?occ_search for examples. You can still easily access all data, by indexing to meta, hierarchy, data, or media via e.g., $data, ['data'], or [['data']]. (#95)
  • Media now returned from the GBIF API. Thus, in occ_search(), we now return a media slot in the output list by default.
  • New function gbif_photos() to view media files (photos in the wild or of museum specimens). Two options are available, which='map' creates a single map which presents the image when the user clicks on the point, and which='table' in which a table has one row for each image, presenting the image and an interactive map with the single point. (#88)
  • Two new packages are imported: sp and whisker
  • GBIF updated their API, now at v1. URL endpoints in rgbif changed accordingly. (#92)
  • GBIF switched to using 2-letter country codes. Take note. (#90)
  • GBIF switched all parameters to camelCase from under_score style - changed accordingly in rgbif.
  • Using package custom version of plyr::compact() instead of importing from plyr.
  • In name_lookup() removed facet_only parameter as it doesn't do anything - use limit=0 instead. Further, added two new slots of output: hierarchy and names (for common/vernacular names) (#96). The output can be determined by user via the return parameter.
  • In name_suggest(), if the field higherClassificationMap is selected to be returned via the fields parameter, a list is returned with a data frame, and a list of the hierarchies separately. If higherClassificationMap is not selected, only a data frame is returned.
  • occ_search() gains new parameters mediatype and issue (#93), with detailed list of possible options for the issue parameter. Gains new examples for searching for images, examples of calls that will throw errors.
  • Updated the vignette.
  • Added better error message to check_wkt().
  • facet_only parameter removed from dataset_search() function as it doesn't do anything - use limit=0 instead.
  • Fixed some examples that didn't work correctly.

rgbif 0.6.3

  • Added functions gbif_bbox2wkt() and gbif_wkt2bbox() to convert a bounding box to wkt and a wkt object to a bounding box, respectively. Copied from the spocc package. Prefixes to fxn names will avoid conflicts.
  • Now spitting out more informative error messages when WKT strings passed in are not properly formed, either from rgeos::readWKT or from the returned response from GBIF.

rgbif 0.6.2

  • gbifmap() was throwing an error because it was looking for two variables latitude and longitude, which had been changed to decimalLatitude and decimalLongitude, respectively, in other functions in this package. Fixed. (#81)
  • occ_get() was updated to include changes in the GBIF API for this endpoint. The fix included fixing the parser for verbatim results, see rgbif::gbifparser_verbatim. (#83)
  • Fixed bugs in elevation() - it was expecting column names to be latitude and longitude, whereas inputs from other rgbif functions have changed to decimalLatitude and decimalLongitude.
  • Fixed bug in count_facet() introduced b/c GBIF no longer accepts hostCountry or nubKey parameters.
  • gist(), stylegeojson(), and togeojson() functions now listed as deprecated. Their functionality moved to the spocc package ( These functions will be removed from this package in a future version. (#82)
  • Added a quick sanity test for gbifmap().
  • Added tests for occ_get() for when verbatim=TRUE, which gives back different data than when verbatim=FALSE.

rgbif 0.6.0

  • A number of variables changed names to better follow the Darwin Core standard. latitude is now decimalLatitude. longitude is now decimalLongitude. clazz is now class. Code in this package changed to accomodate these changes. date is now eventDate. georeferenced is now hasCoordinate. Beware of these changes in your own code using rgbif - find and replace for these should be easy.
  • Changed altitude parameter in occ_search() to elevation - should have been elevation the whole time.
  • occ_count() function with parameter changes: nubKey parameter in changed to taxonKey. New parameter protocol. Parameter catalogNumber gone. Parameter hostCountry gone. These parameters are still in the function definition, but if called they throw a useful warning telling you the correct parameter names. (#76)
  • Fixed bug in name_lookup() function that was labeling facet outputs incorrectly. (#77)
  • Better checking and parsing of response data from GBIF: Across all functions, we now check that the response content type is application/json, then parse JSON ourselves using RJSONIO::fromJSON (instead of httr doing it).
  • Across all functions, we now return all potenital character class columns as character class (instead of factor), by passing stringsAsFactors = FALSE to all data.frame() calls.
  • Now using assertthat package in various places to give better error messages when the wrong input is passed to a function.
  • Four parameters have name changes in the occ_search() function. These parameters are still in the function definition, but if called they throw a useful warning telling you the correct parameter names. (#75)
  • Updated docs in name_usage, name_backbone, name_lookup, and name_suggest functions.
  • sourceId parameter in name_usage() function doesn't work so error message is thrown when used.
  • New function check_wkt() to check that well known text string is the right format. (#68)
  • New dataset typestatus to look up possible specimen typeStatus values. See #74 for more information.
  • GBIF added some new parameters for use in the occ_search() function. scientificName: search for a species by name (instead of taxonKey). continent: search by continent. lastInterpreted: search by last time GBIF modified the record. recordNumber: search by the data collector's specimen record number - this is different from the GBIF record number. typeStatus: search by specimen type status. (#74)
  • Note that given the new parameters many more options are available for implicit faceted search in which you can pass many values in a vector to do multiple searches like parameterName = c(x, y, z). These parameters are: taxonKey, scientificName, datasetKey, catalogNumber, collectorName, geometry, country, recordNumber, search, institutionCode, collectionCode, decimalLatitude, decimalLongitude, depth, year, typeStatus, lastInterpreted, and continent. This isn't faceted search server side - this is just looping your different values of the parameter against the GBIF API.
  • Range queries are a new feature in the GBIF API. Some parameters in occ_search() now support range queries: decimalLatitude,decimalLongitude,depth,elevation,eventDate,lastInterpreted,month, and year. Do a range query for example by depth=50,100 to ask for occurrences where depth was recorded between 50 and 100 meters. Note that this syntax depth=c(50,100) will perform two separate searches, one for depth=50 and one for depth=100. (#71)

rgbif 0.5.0

  • Changed name of country_codes() function to gbif_country_codes() to avoid conflicts with other packages.
  • Replaced sapply() with vapply() throughout the package as it is more robust and can be faster.
  • Added a startup message to the package.
  • gbifmap() now plots a map with ggplot2::coord_fixed(ratio=1) so that you don't get wonky maps.
  • occ_count() now accepts a call to query publishingCountry with a single parameter (country), to list occurrence counts by publishing country.
  • occ_get() and occ_search() lose parameter minimal, and in its place gains parameter fields, in which you can request fields='minimal' to get just name, taxon key, lat and long. Or set to 'all' to get all fields, or selection the fields you want by passing in a vector of field names.
  • Updated base url for the GIBF parser function parsenames()
  • isocodes dataset now with documentation.
  • New function count_facet() to do facetted count search, as GBIF doesn't allow faceted searches against the count API.
  • New function elevation() to get elevation data for a data.frame of lat/long points, or a list of lat/long points. This function uses the Google Elevation API (
  • New function installations() to get metadata on installations.

rgbif 0.4.1

  • Improved handling of limit parameter in occ_search() so that the correct number of occurrences are returned.
  • Fixed various tests that were broken.
  • Added missing limit argument in datasets() function man file, also function gains start and callopts parameters.

rgbif 0.4.0

  • Data object isocodes gains new column gbif_names, the GBIF specific names for countries.
  • Added in deprecation messages throughtout package for functions and arguments that are deprecated.
  • tests moved to tests/testthat from inst/tests.
  • Vignettes now in vignettes/ directory.
  • New function dataset_suggest(), a quick autocomplete service that returns up to 20 datasets.
  • New function name_backbone() looks up names against the GBIF backbone taxonomy.
  • New function name_suggest(), a quick autocomplete service that returns up to 20 name usages.
  • New function occ_metadata() to search dataset metadata.
  • New function parsenames() that parses taxonomic names and returns their components.

rgbif 0.3.9

  • Added back in functions, and .Rd files, from old version or rgbif that interacts with the old GBIF API.
  • Updated vignette to work with new GBIF API and fxns.
  • Added functions to interact with the new GBIF API, notably: country_codes(), dataset_metrics(), dataset_search(), datasets(), name_lookup(), gbifmap(), gist(), name_lookup(), name_usage(), networks(), nodes(), occ_count(), occ_get(), occ_search(), organizations(), stylegeojson(), togeojson(). See the README for a crosswalk from old functions to new ones.
  • test files moved from inst/tests/ to tests/testthat/

rgbif 0.3.2

  • Removed georeferencedonly parameter - is deprecated in the GBIF API

rgbif 0.3.0

  • Added S3 objects: Output from calls to occurrencelist() and occurrence list_many() now of class gbiflist, and output from calls to densitylist() now of class gbifdens.
  • Slight changes to gbifmaps() function.
  • url parameter in all functions moved into the function itself as the base GBIF API url doesn't need to be specified by user.
  • Vignette added.
  • Added function country_codes() to look up 2 character ISO country codes for use in searches.
  • Added function occurrencelist_many() to handle searches of many species.
  • Added functions togeojson() and stylegeosjon() to convert a data.frame with lat/long columns to geojson file format, and to add styling to data.frames before using togeojson() .
  • occurrencelist() and occurrencelist_many() gain argument fixnames, which lets user change species names in output data.frame according to a variety of scenarios.
  • taxonsearch() gains argument accepted_status to accept only those names that have a status of accepted. In addition, this function has significant changes, and examples, to improve performance.

rgbif 0.2.0

  • Improved code style, and simplified code in some functions.
  • occurrencelist() now handles scientific notation when maxresults are given in that form.
  • occurencelist() now can retrieve any number of records; was previously a max of 1000 records.
  • Demo "List" was returning incorrect taxon names - corrected now.
  • Removed unused parameter 'latlongdf' in occurencelist().

rgbif 0.1.5

  • Changed all functions to use RCurl instead of httr as httr was presenting some problems.
  • Two function, capwords and gbifxmlToDataFrame, added with documentation as internal functions.
  • Added function density_spplist to get a species list or data.frame of species and their counts for any degree cell.
  • Added function densitylist to access to records showing the density of occurrence records from the GBIF Network by one-degree cell.
  • Added function gbifmap to make a simple map to visualize GBIF data.
  • Added function occurrencecount to count taxon concept records matching a range of filters.


  • gbifdatause removed, was just a function to return the data sharing agreement from GBIF.

rgbif 0.1.0

  • released to CRAN

Reference manual

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0.9.7 by Scott Chamberlain, 2 months ago

Report a bug at

Browse source code at

Authors: Scott Chamberlain [aut, cre], Vijay Barve [ctb], Dan Mcglinn [ctb]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

Task views: Analysis of Spatial Data

MIT + file LICENSE license

Imports utils, stats, xml2, ggplot2, httr, data.table, whisker, magrittr, jsonlite, V8, oai, geoaxe, tibble

Suggests testthat, knitr, reshape2, maps, sp, rgeos

Imported by spocc.

Suggested by downscale, plotKML, rCAT, rgeospatialquality, scrubr, speciesgeocodeR.

See at CRAN