Places are described in Arctos using, independently, both coordinate and descriptive data. This is often conflicting. For example, the map below is of a “New Mexico” specimen that also maps to Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.
Additionally, descriptive data in Arctos are often incomplete and seemingly contradictory. For example, this spatial query:
Returns these data:
|Arctic Ocean||-NULL-||-NULL-||Chukchi Sea|
|North America||United States||Alaska||Chukchi Sea|
|North America||United States||Alaska||-NULL-|
|North America||United States||Alaska||Beaufort Sea|
|Arctic Ocean||-NULL-||-NULL-||Beaufort Sea|
|North America||United States||Alaska||Bering Sea|
|North Pacific Ocean||-NULL-||-NULL-||Bering Sea|
This virtually guarantees that descriptive queries will miss specimens.
Reversing the process, and querying on the more embarrassing values above, produces (as expected?) unexpected results.
Take-home message? Use coordinate query if at all possible, and expect the unexpected if you must use textual query.