GEOLocate is a platform for georeferencing biodiversity data. It provides coordinates and precision values for textual locality descriptions. It can be used manually but also through files for batch processing. It can be run as a standalone programe or used online through a web interface.
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.