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Abstract Detail

Botanical Cyberinfrastructure: Issues, Challenges, Opportunities, and Initiatives

Frazier, Christopher K. [1], Wieczorek, John [2], Beaman, Reed S. [3].

Georeferencing: Integrating natural history collections data in web-accessible geospatial databases.

MORE than a billion biological specimens have been collected, preserved, and deposited in the permanent collections of museums and herbaria around the world. These specimens are the foundation of our understanding about biological diversity, past and present. Knowledge of specimen collection locations is key to developing and exploring hypotheses of biogeography, ecological analysis, predictive modeling, and for synthesizing information across taxa. Museum collections typically include detailed location information on specimen labels and, in the process known as georeferencing, this information is converted into a form suitable for spatial analyses. Georeferencing entails transforming generalized locations into mappable coordinates, and, to determine fitness of use, converting the detail and quality of the locations into quantitative “uncertainty estimates.” Georeferencing can and historically has been done manually, but this is a slow process. To completely georeference the specimens in our combined collections could take well over a century even with increased effort. This talk will discuss the ongoing development of tools, methodology, and theory that will allow us to georeference natural history collections data much more rapidly and objectively using automated, web-based technology. These advancements, culminating in the current international collaboration known as Biogeomancer, will simplify the process of georeferencing, make the capabilities more widely available, and rapidly improve the quality of our collections data for use by science, management, conservation, and education.

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1 - University of New Mexico, Museum of Southwestern Biology, Msc03 2020, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87131-0001, USA
2 - University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 3101 Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, California, 94720-3160, USA
3 - Yale University, Peabody Museum of Natural History, Biodiversity Informatics, Po Box 208118, New Haven, Connecticut, 06520-8118, USA


Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: 4-6
Location: 206/Performing Arts Center
Date: Monday, July 31st, 2006
Time: 10:45 AM
Abstract ID:717

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