Tackling the spatial challenge in the Southern Cone through georeferencing training

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Magallan Barberry
Magellan Barberry (Berberis ) by Amy Lorenz via iNaturalist. Image licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Southern South America shares more than five million species occurrence records through the GBIF network, but only 10 per cent of those have georeferenced locations without detected issues. To strengthen biodiversity data use in conservation and decision-making, this project aims to improve the geographic data quality of records from Southern South America through three main activities:

  1. Regional georeferencing training workshops. These hands-on sessions will target individuals from institutions within GBIF participant countries with a demonstrated understanding of biodiversity data management and the personal and institutional capacity to replicate the workshops and extend their reach to a larger audience.
  2. Georeferencing the 5,000 most common localities in Southern South America. Achieving an target rate of six localities per person per hour during and after the workshops could improve 3.5 million occurrence records. The project team will gather a list of localities from the region already available through GBIF, which will be complemented by localities provided by key institutions not yet shared through the network. The georeferenced localities will be made openly available for consultation through a Kurator workflow to allow easy re-ingestion of the improved data and further use by all members of the community in newly published datasets.
  3. Identification of future georeferencing priorities based on the results of the previous activities and broader regional needs. This activity will guide future georeferencing initiatives within the region.

The project contributes to several goals and milestones of the 2017-2021 Global GBIF Implementation Plan, including Empower Global Network (activities 1b and 1g), Fill Data Gaps (activity 3a) and Improve Data quality (activities 4b and 4c).

Project Progress

Two regional georeferencing training workshops have been planned. During and after these workshops, 5,000 of the most common localities from target countries would be georeferenced. The localities would constitute the basis for a gazetteer of georeferenced localities that can be used by all members of the community to improve already published data and newly published datasets.

To date, theoretical and practical training materials have been developed for the workshops, including both online and onsite components. In December 2019, a georeferencing workshop was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during which 38 students from all over the country were trained. During the workshop, students began to georeference Argentinian localities. The activity is still ongoing, approximately 700 localities have currently been georeferenced. Localities from Chile were also extracted and are currently being prioritized.

Due to the incidence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the replica of the Argentinian workshop to be held in Santiago de Chile in April 2020, was adapted for a 100% virtual format, with a new calendar from August to November 2020.

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1 June 2019 - 31 January 2021
Project identifier
Funded by
Project lead
GBIF Argentina
Contact details

Anabela Plos
Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia” MACN-CONICET
Avenida Ángel Gallardo 470 (C1405DRJ)
Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires

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