Skip to main content
Skip table of contents


Do not use Coverage to record the physical location of an object. Use SpatialLocation within the Location element to describe where something (such as a collection) is physically located using geospatial coordinates.

Meaning & purpose

The Coverage element is a wrapper for SpatialCoverage and TemporalCoverage child elements, and describes the spatial or temporal topics or characteristics of an entity or object. Using both SpatialCoverage and TemporalCoverage elements allows collections to be discovered in searches covering a particular time or place.

  • Spatial coverage refers to a geographical area where data was collected; a place which is the subject of a collection; or a location which is the focus of an activity. Spatial coverage can be either:
    • a point location, described using geospatial coordinates for a point (e.g. latitude and longitude)
    • an area, described using using geospatial coordinates for an area (e.g. a bounding box)
    • a place or region (regional names may be based on legal jurisdiction (e.g. South Australia).
  • Temporal coverage refers to a time period during which data was collected or observations made, or a time period that an activity or collection is linked to intellectually or thematically, for example, 1997 to 1998; the 18th century. 

Use in Research Data Australia

Coverage information displays as a map in Research Data Australia if correctly formatted spatial information is provided, and as dates where temporal information is provided.

Best practice

The SpatialCoverage and TemporalCoverage elements can be recorded in separate Coverage elements or in the same Coverage element.

See SpatialCoverage and TemporalCoverage for detailed information on these elements.

XML encoding examples

Spatial and temporal coverage using the same Coverage wrapper

	<spatial type="kmlPolyCoords">115.625357,-31.767240 115.754393,-31.774751 115.757967,-32.462250 115.513179,-32.393528</spatial>
		<date type="dateFrom" dateFormat="W3CDTF">2001</date>
		<date type="dateTo" dateFormat="W3CDTF">2004</date>

Spatial and temporal coverage using separate Coverage wrappers

	<spatial type="iso19139dcmiBox">northlimit=-21.16667; southlimit=-43.81833; westlimit=147.43333; eastLimit=159.98333</spatial>
	<spatial type="text">northlimit=-21.16667; southlimit=-43.81833; westlimit=147.43333; eastLimit=159.98333</spatial>

		<date type="dateFrom" dateFormat="W3CDTF">1977-10-14</date>
		<date type="dateTo" dateFormat="W3CDTF">1978-01-09</date>


Change history

Click here to view...
Change history

Nov 2012

Page created

Dec 2016

Page updated

31 Mar 2017Page reviewed and XML examples added
JavaScript errors detected

Please note, these errors can depend on your browser setup.

If this problem persists, please contact our support.