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

Paul Kirk p.kirk at cabi.org
Wed Mar 26 03:35:05 CDT 2008

The 'becomes part of daily routines on the workdesks of experts' is a
crucial part of this 'revolution' - the few experts left need an
incentive to abandon their word processors/spreadsheets/databases and
the incentive would be a workdesk with all the comfort factors that
these software applications give them and a whole heap of bonus
attributes which make it a no-brainer to adopt ... If (big if) the
majority of experts used this workdesk the
adSense-like/referral/ebay-feedback stuff going on in the background
would automatically improve the GBIF (and others - EoL??) content. The
good stuff rises the bad stuff falls - its always been this way, based
on a traditionally  published monograph/fauna/flora/mycota/biota
typically on a 10-25 year cycle; in the 21st century digital age it
should be a tad quicker.


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of
faunaplan at aol.com
Sent: 26 March 2008 08:07
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] GBIF data evaluation (was: iSpecies with Wikipedia)

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

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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