[Taxacom] Geographic data

David Campbell pleuronaia at gmail.com
Wed Jan 23 09:31:31 CST 2013

More information providing more redundancy is always helpful, if
possible, though in a given publication the editor might deem a map to
take up excess space.

Many labels have poor handwriting, and much data is being copied and
compiled by people with limited knowledge of at least the more obscure
localities, if not some less obscure ones.  Somewhere I ran across
mention by one of the major early 20th century U.S. malacologists of
assistants that were rendering P.O. as Post Office when in fact it was
Pacific Ocean.  (Hopefully there was more specific detail as well).

Another difficulty is that some people made labels with a species
range, rather than actual specimen data.

Once more, the only way to improve the data quality is to have someone
knowledgeable check it.  Some automation is possible, to detect
outliers, but someone competent has to enter the information.  As long
as having a data set georeferenced is a higher priority than whether
the georeferences are reliable, we're going to get a bunch of precise
but inaccurate "information".

Dr. David Campbell
Visiting Professor
Department of Natural Sciences
Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs NC 28017

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