The GEOLocate project is an effort to develop software and services for translating textual locality descriptions associated with biodiversity collections data into geographic coordinates.
Bart, H.L., Rios, N.E., Abibou, D. & Ranipeta A.
Tulane University, Saturday, January 1, 2011 (All day)
Managers of biodiversity information datasets that want to use the Geolocate web and desktop applications to improve the quality of their data through the semi-automatic addition and correction of geographical coordinates.
The algorithm used by GEOLocate begins by standardizing the locality string into common terms and parsing out distances, compass directions, and key geographic identifiers. This information is then used in a series of lookups and displacement calculations to determine geographic coordinates. Placename, river mile, legal land description and higway-waterbody crossing datasets are used for lookups. Displacements from these lookups are calculated if indicated by the parsed locality information. Coordinates output from the initial georeferencing may be further refined via an additional function to scan the locality string for waterbody names and “snap” output coordinates to the nearest point on the waterbody found. This feature has proven very useful for aquatic collections. The resulting coordinates are then ranked based on the type of information found within the string and plotted on the digital map display for user verification, correction and error determination. In addition to the automated processing of locality description, One of our goals of was to provide an interface by which users could georeference records one by one or in batches from files, vizualize and correct calculated coordinates and determine polygonal error descriptions. The standalone desktop version of GEOLocate uses XML as its native file format but also supports data import from .CSV and delimited .TXT files. Once coordinates have been derived from a locality description adjustments may be made by simply click and dragging a displayed point on a map. Error estimates can then be recorded as the maximum extent which a description could occupy. This extent is represented as a comma delimited array of polygon vertices and can easily be drawn onto the map. You can try out an online version of the process or download a free copy of the full featured standalone version. Developers are also invited to make use of our georeferencing web services into their own applications and/or databases. A lightwieght client application based on these services is currently under developement.
Tulane University, 2010, “Geolocate website”