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Flag Reporting Guidelines


The Explorers Club Flag is an enduring symbol of our organization. Our flag expeditions further the Club Purposes “to broaden man’s knowledge of all phases of the universe …” (Article III, Bylaws), and by extension, The Explorers Club Flag Expedition Report serves to preserve and disseminate the acquired new knowledge that distinguishes the scientific explorer from the adventurer or treasure hunter. (TEC Statement of Ethics 1.1)


It is the obligation of an explorer to report activities and results accurately.  These activities and results, in the form of flag expedition reports, become part of the century-old archive at the Club. Our collection is a resource used by both scholars and contemporary explorers for related fieldwork. Therefore, your expedition report will become part of the world’s most complete archive of exploration and may exist long after the records sent to other places.  The flag report is a scholarly resource and, to some degree, the expedition team will be judged by the quality of their reporting for decades to come.

Outstanding expeditions reports contain many similar elements and attributes; and to establish a level of consistency, we provide flag expedition report guidelines.

A few simple steps to build an expedition report:

Project overview:

A succinct summary of the expedition’s major points including, project significance, objectives, results and any implications the discoveries may have on either the field of study and/or exploration.

Project explanation:

Illustrate the importance of the flag expedition. Include maps, and at least one photo with caption of The Explorers Club Flag in the field. Include the expedition team members with names. Include background information, with prior relevant research results, on both the region and the topic of study.

Project objectives:

Summarize the objectives of the expedition, highlight references which may include journal articles, reports from previous flag expeditions filed, unpublished reports, etc. 

Project methods:

If a scientific study, provide equipment descriptions, details of sampling techniques, measurement collection, and techniques used for analyzing the data.  Include figures and tables. If exploration oriented, explain how the expedition was conducted.

Project results:

What were the results of the expedition?  What was accomplished?  Null results are certainly acceptable. Include the unexpected.

Project implications:

How will these results influence science and/or exploration? 
What significant factors were uncovered during this expedition?
Will the results influence land or resource management policies?
Develop or test new technologies?

Flag Reporting Obligations

Applicants are reminded that their expedition reports will become part of the century-old archive at the Club. This collection is used by both scholars and contemporary explorers as a resource for related field work. Therefore your report to the Club is not simply to meet an administrative requirement; it will become part of the world's most complete archive of exploration. Please consider this fact when you prepare your end of expedition report. Perfunctory or de minimus reporting may reflect poorly on your work and the productivity of your expedition.

The Explorers Club Expedition Reports are contained in our Research Collections at Headquarters in New York. Flag reports which meet the flag reporting criteria as outlined herein, may be recommended by the Flag and Honors Committee for publication on our website. At a future date, the collection may be digitized as part of our virtual World Center for Exploration.

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste