[Taxacom] GBIF data evaluation (was: iSpecies with Wikipedia)

faunaplan at aol.com faunaplan at aol.com
Wed Mar 26 03:07:06 CDT 2008

Dear All,
my comment on the following piece of conversation from the previous thread:

Andy Mabbett wrote:
>> The GBIF map for "pica pica" shows all but one example as being in South America (the other in Africa - possibly a wrongly-signed longitude?).<<

Roderic Page answered:
>No idea, iSpecies simply displays what GBIF has. Some locality records are clearly false (marine organisms on land, and visa versa) and at some point somebody will hopefully do something about these (see http://iphylo.blogspot.com/2007/11/gbif-data-evaluation.html ).<

As I'm just trying to spot GBIF occurrence data errors in Insecta Coleoptera Carabidae (>250.000 records already accessible!), I can say yes there are those errors and a lot more when you look into the details (names incorrectly listed under suprageneric taxa, erroneous interpretation of names, unresolved synonyms, incorrect interpretation of localities, etc.). 

While lat/lon errors can be cleaned by the machine at least to some extent, the majority of errors will only become visible and can be cleaned when/ if more taxon experts are getting involved. In my opinion, we will see a major breakthrough of the great GBIF idea only when/ if it becomes part of daily routines on the workdesks of experts, and I imagine that projects like iSpecies could become a very helpful forum for both experts and the wider audience. The challenge is, in my (IT-non-expert) opinion, how to make projects like iSpecies more interactive for those you could provide expert input? 

Just an idea: even as an IT-dummy I can download a GBIF overviewMap, get the data details from GBIF and send back an evaluated/? corrected version, or even add my own data to it. So, maybe, an? evaluated map could be displayed somehow along with the original GBIF map. Things like this could serve not only as an invitation to discuss content among taxon experts, but at the same time alert non-experts about the quality of the displayed content. 
Or, another idea: what if we had a versionized (e.g. annual) static "GBIF atlas" for taxa groups that are regularly evaluated by experts. In this way, it would be easier to see 'what's-in-it', - what happens on GBIF, which data are evaluated and which are not, etc...
Right now there are many pitfall traps esp. for non-experts as you can simply display what GBIF, uBio, etc. have...

But anyway, thanks to Roderic Page for doing iSpecies! Seems to be an important step.

Best wishes,
Wolfgang Lorenz
Faunistics & Environmental Planning
Hoermannstr. 4
D-82327 Tutzing, Germany

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