Geocoding Localities

James K. Jarvie jjarvie at OEB.HARVARD.EDU
Mon May 20 13:29:31 CDT 1996

Just dealt with this issue here.  We have about 3,500 specimens databased
from Borneo, collected with GPS readings by Alison Church and myself.  We
also have about 3,500 tree and shrub historical collections databased from
the herbarium in Bogor. These labels varied greatly in detail. Data are held
in MS-Access and we've just managed to map them in ArcView.

What I've done is to extract and send the Church/Jarvie collections as one
file to ArcView, mapped as a red-dotted theme.  Thus red dots denote
accurate locations.

Historical collections, without lat/long data, have been linked to a file
called "Nearest town".  This is a list of the populated areas of Kalimantan
with lats and longs (the original data were downloaded from the Defense
Mapping Agency).  The tables are linked and a file is output to ArcView as
another theme, mapped with black dots.  Thus black dots indicate approximate

The last theme contains points of varying accuracy; state capitals and
villages are "equal" on the resulting maps.  We are looking into ways of
enhancing the accuracy conveyed here.

Bottom line is that data from a single Access database are used to create
different themes in ArcView, with the themes denoting different levels of

Hope this helps,


At 12:02 PM 5/20/96 -0400, you wrote:
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>From: Chrissy van Hilst
>Subject: Geocoding Localities
>I am working on a geocoding project at USNM. We are in the process of
>working up protocols for enhancing specimen locality data by attaching
>latitude and longitude. The goal is to be able to use these data in GIS
>applications to look at everything from change over time to species
>distribution. I'm looking for feedback from other collections that may
>have done this or thought about it and other members of the community
>that may have thoughts and ideas. One of my concerns is augmenting
>imprecise localities with very precise lat/longs. We want this data to
>be meaningful and mappable but we do not want to imply more precision
>than we really have. Please email me with your comments at
>cvanhils at
>Thank you,
>Christina van Hilst
>National Museum of Natural History, VZ
James K. Jarvie, Ph.D.
The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
22 Divinity Avenue
MA 02138

Tel: (617) 495 3260  Fax: (617) 496 6460
E-mail: jjarvie at

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