[Taxacom] Inappropriate accuracy of locality data

Dean Pentcheff pentcheff at gmail.com
Thu Dec 2 16:29:51 CST 2010

I'll apologize in advance: I'm going to pick on you, Bob, for illustrative

I come from an experimental background, late to the
collections/bioinformatics scene. That training treats original data as
essentially sacred: one never ever performs judgement-based rounding on the
numbers. Report what the instrument says, and report (separately) what the
precision and accuracy are.

Why? Mostly because it's too easy to make the wrong decision or a wrong
computation when selectively trimming/rounding data. Your repost, correcting
your reliability estimates, is a case in point. Totally easy to make a
mistake like that. We all do it. But once it's done, data being reported are
"destroyed" and can't be reconstructed by the user.

I'm strongly on the side of reporting the full numeric output of the
instrument. It's a pure cut-and-paste, or file upload, or (at worst)
non-thinking transcription. That's much better than exercising any judgement
at all when recording and reporting data. Judgement needs to happen in
analysis, not data recording and reporting.

I'm _totally_ in agreement that some estimate of error needs to accompany
geolocated points. If users want to trim stuff off later, more power to

Dean Pentcheff
pentcheff at gmail.com
dpentche at nhm.org

On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 12:26 AM, Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>wrote:

> Sorry, more correctly my line
> "I advise rounding that off to 41 52 39 N, which has an implied reliability
> of 1s, or about 30 m."
> should read
> "I advise rounding that off to 41 52 39 N, which has an implied reliability
> of 0.5s, or about 15 m."
> --
> Dr Robert Mesibov
> Honorary Research Associate
> Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
> School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
> Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
> Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
> Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570
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