Metadata for Montana Animal Structured Survey Locations Metadata for Montana Animal Structured Survey Locations
Identification Information:
Originator: Montana Natural Heritage Program
Title: Montana Animal Structured Survey Locations
Publication place: Helena, MT
Publisher: Montana Natural Heritage Program
Online linkage:
Online linkage:
Online linkage:
Online linkage:

The Montana Natural Heritage Program (MTNHP) maintains point data for structured surveys for animal species in Montana. This database includes information on the location, dates, and protocols used for each survey, and can be linked to a list of species that may be detected using those protocols. Observations made during the surveys are stored in MTNHP's Animal Observation database. Structured survey data helps biologists and resource managers identify under-surveyed areas. Paired with observation data, survey points can also help differentiate suitable versus unsuitable habitat for a species. All data are reviewed by Montana Natural Heritage biologists.
Structured survey data are collected and maintained by MTNHP using a standardized methodology to provide accurate and current biodiversity and conservation information to public and private agencies and individuals. Uses of the data can include: natural resource management, conservation planning, environmental review, biological and ecological research, land acquisition, and economic development.
Supplemental information:
Structured Surveys are updated on a continual basis as new data are received and reviewed.

Time period of content:
Currentness reference: Data are continuously updated.
Progress: In work
Maintenance and update frequency: Continually
Access constraints:
The information provided to you by MTNHP is intended for distribution or use only within your department, agency, or business. Subcontractors may have access to the data during the course of any given project, but should not be given a copy for their use on subsequent, unrelated work. MTNHP data are made freely available. Duplication of hard-copy or digital products with the intent to sell is prohibited without written consent by MTNHP. Should you be asked by individuals outside your organization for the type of data that we provide, please refer them to MTNHP.
Use constraints:
Species observation, Structured Survey, and Species Occurrence data obtained from the Montana Natural Heritage Program are intended for use only by the individual or organization who requested it. Because MTNHP constantly updates and revises its databases with new data and information, products may become less accurate over time. Interested parties are encouraged to obtain the most current information possible from MTNHP, rather than using older products. We add, delete, and change records on a daily basis; consequently, we strongly advise that you update your MTNHP data sets every three (3) months for most applications of our information.Additionally, MTNHPdata do not represent comprehensive inventories of all species in all locations. These products are not intended to subsitute for field-collected data, nor are they intended to be the sole basis for natural resource management decisions. In order to document MTNHP's intent regarding how digital data should be used and to educate users regarding the extent and limitations of the data, MTNHP requires a signed acknowledgement that specifies appropriate and inappropriate uses of the data. A copy of this acknowledgement can be made available upon request.
Point of contact:
Montana Natural Heritage Program
P.O. Box 201800
Helena, MT 59620-1800

Telephone: 406-444-5363

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Data Quality Information:
Attribute accuracy report:
The database is dependent on the research and observations of many scientists and individuals. In most cases this information is not the result of comprehensive site-specific field surveys, and is not confirmed by Heritage staff. Many areas have never been thoroughly surveyed, and new observations are still being discovered. Database information should never be regarded as final statements or substituted for on-site surveys required for environmental assessments.

Logical consistency report:
Plotted latitudes/longitudes are checked against standard digital themes such as counties, watershed, and USGS quadrangle and topographic maps.
Completeness report:
All data are provided as is. The Montana Natural Heritage Program makes no warranty as to the currency, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. Since the data in the Montana Natural Heritage Program databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data received on a quarterly basis for ongoing use. The data provided are for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. The data should not be considered a definitive statement on the presence, absence, or condition of biological elements at any given location. The lack of data for any geographic area cannot be construed to mean that no significant features are present. Observation information is derived from site visits; published or unpublished literature, museum specimens, and personal communications. Not all information is known or made available to the Natural Heritage Program. Many areas have not been adequately explored and new locations of species are continuously being discovered. Heritage information provides the best warning that an area may be rich in rare elements, but cannot be used to assess the opposite. Therefore, biological experts for certain species or land areas should be contacted to reconfirm species location and status.

Geographic Completeness:
In general, data are state-wide. However, there are some areas of the state where data are sparse. There are several large parcels of tribal lands scattered across the state, and data are often not available from these areas. Also, some areas have high concentrations of private lands where access to land for data collection is restricted.

Horizontal Positional Accuracy Report:
Survey locations are typically gathered via GPS unit or plotted against standard digital themes such as DRG topographical maps or digital photographs. Locational Uncertainty is estimated where the precise location is unknown or to represent the spatial extent of of the observation.


Process step:
Location information is stored and maintained as coordinate pairs. This data set is very dynamic with continual updates and additions. Shapefiles or feature classes are recreated using an event theme each time the data are requested.
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Spatial Data Organization Information:
Point and vector object information:
SDTS object type: Entity point
SDTS object count: 159972
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Entity and Attribute Information:

Attribute label: Survey_Location_ID
Attribute definition: Unique identifier for each survey location record.
Attribute domain:
Sequential unique whole numbers that are automatically generated.

Attribute label: Survey_Name
Attribute definition: Name of the survey effort.

Attribute label: Protocol_Name
Attribute definition: Name of the protocol used for the survey.

Attribute label: Latitude
Attribute definition: Latitude in decimal degrees.

Attribute label: Longitude
Attribute definition: Longitude in decimal degrees.

Attribute label: SPX
Attribute definition: Montana State Plane (meters) X coordinate.

Attribute label: SPY
Attribute definition: Montana State Plane (meters) Y coordinate.

Attribute label: Loc_Uncert_M
Attribute definition: Locational uncertainty distance in meters.

Attribute label: Location
Attribute definition: Text field for description of location.

Attribute label: County
Attribute definition: County where observation is located.

Attribute label: Observer
Attribute definition: Person who made the observation.

Attribute label: Survey_Date_Start
Attribute definition: Earliest possible date of the survey.

Attribute label: Survey_Date_End
Attribute definition: Latest possible date of the survey.

Attribute label: Survey_Date_Text
Attribute definition: Text field for clarification or description of dates.

Attribute label: Survey_Comments
Attribute definition: Text field any comments about the survey.

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Distribution Information:
Montana Natural Heritage Program
P.O. Box 201800
Helena, MT 59620-1800

Telephone: 406-444-5363

Resource description: Offline Data

Distribution liability:
The Structured Survey database is a statewide inventory of known locations animal surveys. Users must recognize that parts of the state remain uninventoried or under-inventoried. Thus, "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", nor does the documentation of surveys for one species group imply that other species groups were surveyed for but not found.

The Montana Natural Heritage Program (MTNHP) products and services are based on biological data and the objective interpretation of those data by professional scientists. MTNHP does not advocate any particular philosophy of natural resource protection, management, development, or public policy. MTNHP has no natural resource management or regulatory authority. Products, statements, and services from MTNHP are intended to inform parties as to the state of scientific knowledge about certain natural resources, and to further develop that knowledge. They are not intended at natural resource management guidelines or prescriptions.

Species range maps, habitat models, occurrence polygons, and other predictions of the spatial distribution of biological resources produced by MTNHP are objective extrapolations of credible data. They are intended to inform parties of the known occurrence or the likelihood of the presence of those resources, guide future surveys for those resources, and to test hypotheses regarding habitat quality and abundance. They are not intended to substitute for field-collected data, nor are they intended to be the sole basis for natural resource management decisions. We do not portray our databases as exhaustive or comprehensive inventories of rare species or of significant natural features. Field verification of the absence or presence of sensitive species will always be an important obligation of users of our data.

MTNHP assumes no liability for the use or misuse of this data.

Standard order process:
Fees: None
Ordering instructions:
Please make a request at or contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program.
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Metadata Reference Information:
Metadata date: 08/04/2016
Metadata review date: 02/26/2021
Metadata contact:
Montana Natural Heritage Program
P.O. Box 201800
Helena, MT 59620-1800

Telephone: 406-444-5363

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