Batch Georeferencing Tool

The general premise of the batch georeferencing tool is to offer the ability to assign coordinates to groups of specimens that describe the same locality even though they differ in the exact wording. Using this method, one can regularly georeference numerous specimen at once. The directions for using this tool are listed and described below:

  1. Generate the locality list
  2. Select a group of matching localities
  3. Enter coordinate values
  4. Submit coordinates

Generate the locality list
The first step is to generate a distinct locality list from specimen records that have not yet been georeferenced. The list is created by submitting country, state, county, and locality terms in the query form located in the upper right of the form. The locality field is the only required field, though also entering at least a country and state will produce a more manageable display list.

Select a group of matching localities
Once a distinct list of related localities is being displayed, the next step is to select groups of localities that all describe the same geographic area. For instance, Hoover Dam, vicinity of Hoover Dam, and near Hoover Dam all describe the same general locality and would likely be assigned the same coordinates and error radius. Multiple selections can be made within the list by holding down the control or shift key while clicking on the localities. If country, state, and county are defined in the query form, the list will not repeat those terms for each item in the list. The number in brackets located at the end of each locality represents the number of non-georeferenced specimens that contain the exact same text in the locality field.

Enter coordinate values
Latitude and longitude in the decimal format are the only fields that are truly required; however, error, datum, and verification status are strongly encouraged. Making use of the degree, minute, and second fields will convert those values into the decimal format. An error radius in meters should be entered for each submission as it gives a more accurate description of where the specimens were collected. Elevation values are optional and will only be inserted for records where the elevation fields are blank. Use the following tools to aid in generating coordinates:

  1. UTM conversion – Click on the pencil editing symbol located to the right of the datum field to display the UTM conversion form. Entering and submitting UTM values will convert the values to decimal latitude and longitude. A WGS84 datum will be used in the conversion formula unless another value has been entered into the datum field.
  2. Google Map – Click the map symbol to the right of the latitude field to open the Google map interface. Pan, zoom, and click on the desired locality to generate the decimal coordinates for that point. Click the Submit Coordinates button to insert the coordinates into the main form. If one opens the map and latitude and longitude values have already been entered into the main form, the map will automatically pan and zoom into those points. If points are submitted using this interface, WGS84 will be entered into the datum fields.
  3. GeoLocate Clicking on the GeoLocate symbol located to the upper right of the locality list will open the GeoLocate light web client primed with the first locality information selected within the list. Once GeoLocate is open, click on the green “Georeference a locality description” bar located at the bottom of the map to display the submit form primed with the locality information. Click the Georeference button to analyze and generate points for that given locality. Click on the center of any point to see full details or modify the error radius circle. The Save to your application button located at the bottom of the form will insert the values into that main form. Since GeoLocate is only primed with the locality text of the first selected item in the locality list, one may first want to select the most informative locality, generate coordinates using GeoLocate, and then select the full collection of localities that match the coordinates.
  4. UTM field parser – If there is a locality field within the list that contains UTM values, selecting that locality and clicking on the magnifying symbol located to the upper right of the locality list will attempt to extract the UTM values from the locality and convert the values to the lat/long decimal format.
  5. Occurrence editor If one sees an obvious error in one of the localities that they wish to fix, they can select the locality and then click on the pencil editing symbol located to the upper right of the locality list to open the occurrence editor primed with the records associated with that locality. If the “select locality” item is shared by 15 specimen records, the occurrence editor will open populated with these records allowing one to scroll from one record to the next. If more than one locality is selected in the list, the first selected locality will be used within the editor.

Submit coordinates
The final step is to click the Update Coordinates button to Georeference all specimens matching the selected localities. Of course, only specimen records without coordinate values will be georeferenced and elevation will only be submitted for records that lack that information.

Miscellaneous comments

  • If collection is a data snapshot of an external central database, batch georeference data will need to be periodically downloaded and integrated into the institution’s central database. For snapshot datasets, the georeference data is additionally conserved and isolated within the occurrence edit table (omoccurredits). This data versioning is done to ensure that the coordinate data are not lost if the central institution updates their Symbiota data snapshot before extracting the georeferenced coordinates.

Click link below to view a web tutorial on the Batch Georeferencing Tool:

Batch Georeferencing Tool Introduction