Georeferencing of collecting localities

Fabio Moretzsohn fabio at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Thu Apr 10 13:11:15 CDT 2003

Doug Yanega wrote:
>The one modern tool I'm still looking for is an online resource where
>you can pull up detailed maps of anywhere in the world, move the
>mouse around on the map, and get the exact lat/long values AND
>elevation of the point where the mouse is. The closest we have
>presently are a few sites where you can get lat/long coordinates
>alone, with a significant error (you can move the mouse a fair
>distance before the readings change), and only for a limited
>geographic area. If we can ever get a truly topographic, global map
>resource, that WILL greatly speed up the process of specimen
>georeferencing. Even if so, ultimately, georeferencing is NEVER going
>to be an *easy* task - unless we simply don't care about accuracy.

There are people here at the museum doing a lot of georeferencing, and they use a program called TOPO USA, made by DeLorme (, that has some of the features mentioned by Doug. However, I think it covers only the USA. I haven't used the program, but I have seen people using it, and it seems pretty helpful. When you load the elevation map, you get both the elevation and coordinates (lat - long) of the point where the mouse is. Today, by coincidence, we tried to do the same in ArcView 8.3, but we could not figure out how to read the elevation -- I don't know if it is possible in ArcView, maybe it is if you have the right data (i.e., topographic layers).  What we had was probably a representation of the elevation, but not the precise (not sure how much) topographic values like TOPO USA has.

I do not know if there are online resources available that will provide lat/long AND elevation for places outside of the US. If there are such resources, please tell us -- I am sure a lot of us could use them.

Aloha,  Fabio

Fabio Moretzsohn, Ph.D.
Invertebrate Zoology, Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice Street
Honolulu, Hawaii  96817 U.S.A.
Ph: (808) 848-4103, Fax (808) 847-8252
Email: fabio at

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