Preparing Your Metadata
Analyses are vastly more interesting if the sequences or samples analyzed have rich ‘meta data’ wherever possible. This metadata could typically include collection dates, geographic location, symptoms of patients, host characteristics, etc.
To make the most of augur’s features, we recommend including sampling date and at least one type of geographic information if at all possible. However, you can also include things like symptoms, host, clinical outcome - and more!
For augur to be able to parse this data, it needs to be formated consistently. Your data may have meta information coded into the sequence name (see example below). If not, a very transparent way is to provide the meta data as a separate table in a tab- or comma-separated file.
An example meta data file is shown here:
strain accession date region host
1_0087_PF KX447509 2013-12-XX Oceania Human
1_0181_PF KX447512 2013-12-XX Oceania Bat
1_0199_PF KX447519 2013-11-XX Oceania Human
BRA/2016 KY785433 2016-04-08 South America Cow
BRA/2015 KY558989 2015-02-23 South America Bat
A note on Excel
Because Excel will automatically change the date formatting, we recommend not opening or preparing your meta data file in Excel. If the metadata is already in Excel, or you decide to prepare it in Excel, we recommend using another program to correct the dates afterwards (and don’t open it in Excel again!).
You must have one column named
name. It contains your
sequence names, and needs to match the identifiers of your sequences (in
the Fasta or VCF file) exactly and must not contain characters such as
Dates should be formated according as
YYYY-MM-DD. You can specify
unknown dates or month by replacing the respected values by
2011-XX-XX) and completely unknown dates can be
20XX-XX-XX (which does not restrict the sequence to being
in the 21st century - they could be earlier).
Geographic locations can be broken down, for example, into
city. You can have as many levels of
geographic information as you wish. For
divisions augur already knows many lat-long coordinates (see
which ones it already knows by checking the list
It is important that these are spelled consistently.
If you want to include locations where augur doesn’t know the lat-long values, you can include them - see how here.
Consistancy and Style
Check that your metadata is free from spelling mistakes and that values are consistant. Augur doesn’t know that ‘UK’ and ‘United Kingdom’ or ‘cat’ and ‘feline’ are the same!
Previously, auspice ‘prettified’ traits by capitalizing them automatically, and removing the underscores that separated two-word locations (‘new_zealand’ became ‘New Zealand’).
Auspice will still do this if you are exporting ‘V1’ type JSON files
(from augur v5 or augur v6 using
export v1), but will not do this if
you are using
export v2 (read
Instead, you should update your metadata files so that traits look the
same as you’d like them to display in Auspice (change ‘new_zealand’ to
‘New Zealand’ in your metadata, and in any additional latitude-longitude
or coloring files you use).
Parsing from the header
Sometimes, metadata can be coded into the Fasta header, like so:
>1_0087_PF | KX447509 | 2013-12-XX | oceania
Augur can parse meta data from Fasta headers using the
function (see here), but you have to make sure
that every sequence has the exact same meta data fields (even if empty),
and that they are consistently delimited with
|. Furthermore, none
of the metadata fields can contain the character