[seek-dev] What to do about "nil"

Rod Spears rods at ku.edu
Tue Nov 9 10:40:17 PST 2004

Here is the schema for Latitude per the DarwinCore spec:
    <xsd:element name="DecimalLatitude" 
substitutionGroup="digir:searchableReturnableData" nillable="true">
            <xsd:documentation>The latitude of the location from which 
the cataloged item was collected, expressed in decimal 
            <xsd:restriction base="xsd:decimal">
                <xsd:minInclusive value="-90.0"/>
                <xsd:maxInclusive value="90.0"/>

Note that the value can be "nil" and it also has a restriction. When the 
value reaches the DarwinCoreDataSource as a string it is either a valid 
number within the range or an empty string (length zero).

Currently, I convert the empty string to "0.0" which is the wrong thing 
to do. The question is what should I do? As Dan suggested I could pick 
an arbitray large number and pass that back, but that assumes the 
consumer will know what to do with that value. I could skip any and all 
rows that have empty Lat or Long values, but that may be bad for 
consumers that want to see that data but don't care if it is nil (empty) 
or not.

Any thoughts?


More information about the Seek-dev mailing list