Georeferencing documents released for community review

Deadlines for input from community review: 1 November 2020

Commerson’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus commersonii), off the coast of Chubut, Argentina. Photo 2018 Gabriel Laufer via iNaturalist research-grade observations, in the public domain under CC0.

GBIF has released three new technical documents for community review and welcomes input and feedback on each of the following publications:

Taken together, these three georeferencing documents provide essential tools for improving the practice of spatially interpreting locations, particularly (but not exclusively) for those working with biological occurrence data from museum-based scientific collections. The Best Practices guide provides theoretical background and methods for georeferencing descriptive localities along with common terms and technologies. The Quick Guide offers practical advice and a citable protocol for georeferencing projects. Finally, the Manual documents how to use the Georeferencing Calculator, a tool created to help the georeferencing of descriptive localities.

Community members interested in participating as peer reviewers are encouraged to review the contributor guidelines and then provide their suggestions for improvements on the documents via GitHub by the deadline of 1 November 2020.

The new documents complete the first set of work that the GBIF Secretariat commissioned from VertNet to initiate the digital documentation programme. These materials reflect the commitment first made in the 2019 GBIF work programme, which aimed to strengthen technical skills and training in GBIF communities of practice not just by updating available guidance but also by improving the processes for maintaining it over time.

In addition to input on the documents, feedback on the community peer review process and the digital documentation programme (including suggestions on topics we should consider covering) are always welcomed at

Those interested in staying informed on the release of future documents for review should subscribe to GBIF's 'digital documentation' mailing list. GBIF will also post announcements to its Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

How do I participate in the community peer review?

Community members interested in contributing to this peer-review process can read the overview of the digital documentation programme to place their efforts in context, then review the specific instructions and expectations on how to offer suggestions and improvements.

To lend your voice and participate as a reviewer, we ask community members to:

  1. Create a GitHub account (view video how-to).
  2. Read the documents: Georeferencing Best Practices, Georeferencing Quick Reference Guide & Georeferencing Manual
  3. Create and comment on issues on the appropriate GitHub repository (watch video how-to):
  4. Start, follow and support discussions that arise on the GBIF Community Forum

Please remember that all interactions within this process must adhere to the GBIF Code of Conduct, which aims to encourage a "safe, hospitable, and productive environment" that is "professional, respectful and harassment-free for all participating."