Content uploaded by John Richard Wieczorek

Author content

All content in this area was uploaded by John Richard Wieczorek on Jul 07, 2017

Content may be subject to copyright.

Content uploaded by John Richard Wieczorek

Author content

All content in this area was uploaded by John Richard Wieczorek on Jul 07, 2017

Content may be subject to copyright.

Research Article

The point-radius method for georeferencing locality descriptions and

calculating associated uncertainty

JOHN WIECZOREK*

Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 3101 Valley Life Sciences Building,

University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA;

e-mail: tuco@socrates.berkeley.edu

QINGHUA GUO

Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy & Management, 151 Hilgard

Hall #3110, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

and ROBERT J. HIJMANS

Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 3101 Valley Life Sciences Building,

University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

Natural history museums store millions of specimens of geological, biological,

and cultural entities. Data related to these objects are in increasing demand for

investigations of biodiversity and its relationship to the environment and

anthropogenic disturbance. A major barrier to the use of these data in GIS is

that collecting localities have typically been recorded as textual descriptions,

without geographic coordinates. We describe a method for georeferencing

locality descriptions that accounts for the idiosyncrasies, sources of uncertainty,

and practical maintenance requirements encountered when working with natural

history collections. Each locality is described as a circle, with a point to mark

the position most closely described by the locality description, and a radius to

describe the maximum distance from that point within which the locality is

expected to occur. The calculation of the radius takes into account aspects of the

precision and speciﬁcity of the locality description, as well as the map scale,

datum, precision and accuracy of the sources used to determine coordinates.

This method minimizes the subjectivity involved in the georeferencing process.

The resulting georeferences are consistent, reproducible, and allow for the use of

uncertainty in analyses that use these data.

1. Introduction

Natural history collections contain more than 2500 million specimens of

geological, biological, and cultural entities (Duckworth et al. 1993). These resources

constitute a foundation for numerous scientiﬁc disciplines, such as anthropology,

biogeography, biosystematics, conservation biology, ecology, and paleontology.

The data associated with natural history specimens vary widely in nature and

content between disciplines as well as between institutions, including everything

International Journal of Geographical Information Science

ISSN 1365-8816 print/ISSN 1362-3087 online #2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals

DOI: 10.1080/13658810412331280211

INT.J.GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SCIENCE

VOL. 18, NO.8,DECEMBER 2004, 745–767

from hand-written notes taken in the ﬁeld at the time of collection (ﬁeld notes) to

databases and published articles in professional journals. Underlying this variation,

however, is a core set of concepts common to all natural history collections, one of

the most important of which is the ‘collecting event’ - a description of the time and

place (locality) where a specimen was collected. The collecting event is an essential

association between the specimen and its natural context and is required for

quantitative analyses of specimen data together with other spatial data using

geographical information systems (GIS).

Despite increasing interest in natural history collection data, there remain

considerable obstacles to their use in GIS. The most prevalent of these obstacles is

that locality descriptions are often not georeferenced. Traditionally, localities have

been recorded as textual descriptions, often based on names and situations that can

change over time. This tradition is slowly changing to document localities

with supplementary geographic coordinates, the value of which are now widely

recognized (Krishtalka and Humphrey 2000, GBIF 2002) and the collection of

which has been greatly facilitated by the availability of the Global Positioning

System (GPS). Nevertheless, researchers interested in spatial analysis using museum

specimen data face a daunting legacy of data without coordinates. For example, at

the beginning of the ‘Mammal Networked Information System’ Project (MaNIS

2001), which consists of a distributed database network for mammal collections, 17

North American mammal collections pooled their specimen locality data for a

collaborative georeferencing effort. 87.8% of the 296 737 distinct collecting localities

from these collections had no coordinates. As of March 2003, 61.2% of the

3 260 453 specimens accessible through Lifemapper (KU-BRC 2002) did not have

georeferenced localities. These statistics are typical of natural history collections

data that are in digital media today, and indicate the magnitude of the

georeferencing challenge.

In the relatively few cases in which localities have been assigned coordinates,

there is seldom any documentation of the method used to determine those

coordinates. For example, of the localities for which coordinates had already been

determined at the outset of the MaNIS project, 78.4% of 36 197 records had no

associated metadata regarding the areas encompassed by the localities, nor did they

include information about the methods and assumptions used in assigning the

coordinates and uncertainties associated with them. Thus, even where present,

georeferenced localities may be of limited utility since we have no knowledge of

how they were generated.

To the best of our knowledge, there are currently no published, comprehensive

guidelines for georeferencing descriptive locality data. In the absence of such

guidelines, it has been common practise to assign a single point to a locality,

without estimates of how well that point represents the actual locality. Some

authors call for the capture of categorical measures of uncertainty (McLaren et al.

1996, Knyazhnitskiy et al. 2000), but do not investigate the nature of uncertainties,

their magnitudes, or how different sources of uncertainty combine. Given the

nature of locality descriptions and the variation in quality of coordinate sources

(maps and gazetteers, for example), uncertainty must be estimated under rigorous

guidelines. Whereas the coordinates of some localities can be determined with great

precision, others can only be roughly approximated. If these differences are

not taken into account, uncertainties cannot be incorporated into analyses and

746 J. Wieczorek et al.

it becomes impossible to determine whether a given record is appropriate for a

particular application. Spatial analysis without consideration of data uncertainty

may be of limited utility (Fisher 1999).

Numerous studies have investigated the positional accuracy of spatial data

(Goodchild and Hunter 1997; Leung and Yan 1998; Veregin 2000; Van Niel

and McVicar 2002), which is deﬁned as the difference between test data and

corresponding ‘‘true’’ data of demonstrably higher accuracy (Goodchild and

Hunter 1997; FGDC 1998) and which is expressed as a standard error for a set of

points in a GIS layer (Stanislawski et al. 1996; Bonner et al. 2003).

The approaches used in these studies cannot be directly applied to estimating

uncertainty in georeferenced localities. In contrast to many spatial data sets, which

consist of unambiguously identiﬁable objects that can be directly and repeatedly

measured, it is difﬁcult to provide true data against which to test for many of the

types of potential errors (‘‘uncertainties’’) that plague descriptive localities.

Here we present a simple, practical method for computing and recording

coordinates for a locality. We identify the potential sources of uncertainty, present

methods for determining their magnitudes, and provide a procedure for combining

uncertainties into a single estimate of ‘‘maximum’’ uncertainty associated with the

coordinates.

We propose that the method presented here provides a framework for

producing consistent and accurate interpretations of the locality descriptions and

represents a substantial improvement over current practices. Efﬁciency, accuracy,

and repeatability are our primary goals.

2. Georeferencing methods

2.1. Point method

There are various methods by which locality descriptions can be georeferenced.

The most commonly used is the ‘Point’ method, by which a single coordinate pair is

assigned to each location. This method ignores the fact that a locality record always

describes an area rather than a dimensionless point and that collecting may have

occurred anywhere within the area denoted. The speciﬁcity (that is, how well the

description constrains the interpretation of the area) with which a locality is

recorded directly inﬂuences the range of research questions to which the data can be

applied. For example, recording only the state from which a specimen was collected

will not be of much utility in the compilation of a species list for a National Park in

that state. By providing only a point for a georeferenced record, the distinction is

lost between locality descriptions that are speciﬁc and those that are not.

2.2. Shape method

The shape method is a conceptually simple method that delineates a locality

using one or more polygons, buffered points, and buffered polylines. A

combination of these shapes can represent a town, park, river, junction, or any

other feature or combination of features found on a map. While simple to describe,

the task of generating these shapes can be difﬁcult. Creating shapes is impractical

without the aid of digital maps, GIS software, and expertise, all of which can be

relatively expensive. Also, storing a shape in a database is considerably more

complicated than storing a single pair of coordinates. Particular challenges to

making this method practical for georeferencing natural history collections data

Point-radius method for georeferencing 747

include assembling freely accessible digital cartographic resources and developing

tools for automation of the georeferencing process. Nevertheless, of all of the

approaches discussed here, this method has the potential to generate the most

complete digital spatial descriptions of localities.

2.3. Bounding box method

A common way to describe a geographic feature is to use a bounding box–aset

of two pairs of coordinates that together form a rectangle (in the appropriate

projection) that encompasses the locality being described. Geographic features in

the Alexandria Digital Library Gazetteer Server (ADL 2001) are sometimes

described using bounding boxes. The bounding box method is a limited shape

method by which only points or projected rectangles can be described. This method

offers some advantages over the shape method. For example, bounding boxes are

much easier to produce and store than arbitrary shapes, particularly in the absence

of digital cartographic tools. In addition, database queries can be performed on

bounding boxes without the need for a spatial database engine. However,

describing a locality with a bounding box tends to be less speciﬁc than describing it

with a more complicated shape.

2.4. Point-radius method

The point-radius method describes a locality as a coordinate pair and a distance

from that point (that is, a circle), the combination of which encompasses the full

locality description and its associated uncertainties. The key advantage of this

method is that the uncertainties can be readily combined into one attribute, whereas

the bounding box method requires contributions to uncertainty to be represented

independently in each of the two dimensions. This simple difference can have a

profound effect on the economy of georeferencing. Recognizing the practical

advantages for natural history collections, for which the economy of producing and

maintaining data are critical concerns, the guidelines for georeferencing descriptive

localities presented here will be described in terms of the point-radius method.

Nevertheless, the discussions of the sources of uncertainty are relevant to the

‘Shape’ and ‘Bounding box’ methods as well.

3. Applying the point-radius method

3.1. Step one: classify the locality description

Locality descriptions among natural history collection data encompass a

wide range of content in a bafﬂing array of formats. From the perspective of

georeferencing, however, there are effectively only nine different categories of

descriptions (table 1). The locality type will determine the process of calculating

coordinates and uncertainties.

A locality description can contain multiple clauses and can match more than

one of the categories given in table 1. If any one of the parts falls into one of the ﬁrst

three categories, the locality should not be georeferenced. Instead, an annotation

should be made to the locality record giving the reason why it is not being

georeferenced. In this way, anyone who encounters the locality in the future will

beneﬁt from previous effort to diagnose problems with georeferencing the locality

description.

If the locality description does not fall into any of the ﬁrst three categories in

748 J. Wieczorek et al.

Table 1. Types of locality descriptions commonly found in natural history collections.

Type Description Examples

1) dubious The locality explicitly states that the information contained

therein is in question.

‘Isla Boca Brava?’, ‘presumably central

Chile’

2) can not be located Either the locality data are missing, or they contain other

than locality information, or the locality cannot be

distinguished from among multiple possible candidates,

or the locality cannot be found with available references.

‘locality not recorded’, ‘Bob Jones’,

‘lab born’, ‘summit’, ‘San Jose, Mexico’

3) demonstrably inaccurate The locality contains irreconcilable inconsistencies. ‘Sonoma County side of the Gualala

River, Mendocino County’

4) coordinates The locality consists of a point represented with coordinate

information.

‘42.4532 84.8429’, ‘UTM 553160 4077280’

5) named place The locality consists of a reference to a geographic feature

(e.g., town, cave, spring, island, reef, etc.) having a spatial

extent.

‘Alice Springs’, ‘junction of Dwight

Avenue and Derby Street’

6) offset The locality consists of an offset (usually a distance) from

a named place.

‘5 km outside Calgary’

7) offset along a path The locality describes a route from a named place. ‘1 km S of Missoula via Route 93’’

‘‘600 m up the W Fork of Willow Creek’

8) offsets in orthogonal directions The locality consists of a linear distance in each of two

orthogonal directions from a named place.

‘6 km N and 4 km W of Welna’

9) offset at a heading The locality contains a distance in a given direction. ‘50 km NE Mombasa’

Point-radius method for georeferencing 749

table 1, the most speciﬁc part of the locality description should be used for

georeferencing. For example, a locality written as ‘bridge over the St. Croix River,

4 km N of Somerset’ should be georeferenced based on the bridge rather than on

Somerset as the named place with an offset at a heading. The locality should be

annotated to reﬂect that the bridge was the locality that was georeferenced. If the

more speciﬁc part of the locality cannot be unambiguously identiﬁed, then the less

speciﬁc part of the locality should be georeferenced and annotated accordingly.

3.2. Step two: determine coordinates

The ﬁrst key to consistent georeferencing using the point-radius method is to

have well-deﬁned rules for determining the coordinates of the point. Coordinates

may be retrieved from gazetteers, geographic name databases, maps, or even from

other locality descriptions that have coordinates (for example, from localities

recorded in the ﬁeld using a GPS receiver). The source and precision of the

coordinates should be recorded so that the validity of the georeferenced locality can

be checked at any time. The original coordinate system (for example, decimal

degrees, degrees minutes seconds, UTM) and geodetic datum (for example,

WGS84, NAD27) used in the coordinate source should also be recorded. This

information helps to determine sources and degree of uncertainty, especially with

respect to the original coordinate precision (section 3.3.3.3). We recognize that

speciﬁc projects may require particular coordinate systems, but we ﬁnd geographic

coordinates in decimal degrees to be the most convenient system for georeferencing.

Since this format relies on just two attributes, one for latitude and the other for

longitude, it provides a succinct coordinate description with global applicability

that is readily transformed to other coordinate systems as well as from one datum

to another. By keeping the number of recorded attributes to a minimum, the

chances for transcription errors are minimized.

When transforming coordinates from one system or datum to another, it is

important to preserve as much precision as possible. Coordinate precision is not

a measure of accuracy – it does not imply speciﬁc knowledge of the locality

represented by the coordinates; that role is assumed by the uncertainty

measurements, as described in section 3.3. Every coordinate transformation has

the potential to introduce error. The greater the precision with which the

coordinates are captured, the less the error that is propagated when further

coordinate transformations are made.

3.2.1. Identify named places and determine their extents

The ﬁrst step in determining the coordinates for a locality description is to

identify the most speciﬁc named place within the description. Gazetteers and

geographic name databases provide coordinates for named places (commonly

referred to as ‘features’). However, we use the term ‘named place’ to refer not only

to traditional features, but also to places that may not have proper names, such as

road junctions, stream conﬂuences, and cells in grid systems (for example,

Townships).

Every named place occupies a ﬁnite space, or ‘extent’. In some sources, places

may be given in the form of bounding box coordinates for larger features (ADL

2001), but in general only a coordinate pair, not an extent, is given. Some

coordinate sources are accompanied by rules governing the placement of the

750 J. Wieczorek et al.

coordinates within a named place. For example, the US Geographic Names

Information Service (USGS 1981) places the coordinates of towns at the main post

ofﬁce unless the town is a county seat, in which case the coordinates refer to the

county courthouse. Similarly, the same source places the coordinates of a river at its

mouth. In the absence of one of these speciﬁc points of reference, the geographic

centre of the named place is usually recorded. Because of these inconsistencies in

assigning coordinates for named places, including inconsistencies within a single

data source, the extent of the named place becomes an important consideration in

determining uncertainty.

The geographic centre (that is, the midpoint of the extremes of latitude and

longitude) of the named place is recommended as the location of the coordinates

because it describes a point where the uncertainty due to the extent of the named

place is minimized. If the locality describes an irregular shape (for example, a

winding road or river) and the geographic centre of that shape does not lie within

the locality, then the point nearest the geographic centre that lies within the shape is

the preferred reference for the named place and represents the point from which the

extent of and offsets from that named place should be calculated.

3.2.2. Determine offsets

Offsets consist of combinations of distances and directions from a named place.

Some locality descriptions explicitly state the path to follow when measuring the

offset (for example, ‘by road’, ‘by river’, ‘by air’, ‘up the valley’). In such cases the

georeferencer should follow the path designated in the description using a map with

the largest available scale to ﬁnd the coordinates of the offset from the named

place. The smaller the scale of the map used, the more the measured distance on the

map is likely to overshoot the intended target.

It is sometimes possible to infer the offset path from additional supporting

evidence in the locality description. For example, in the locality ‘58 km NW of

Haines Junction, Kluane Lake’ supports a measurement by road since the ﬁnal

coordinates by that path are nearer to the lake than going 58 km NW in a straight

line. Altitudes given with the locality description may also support one offset path

over another. By convention, localities containing two offsets in orthogonal

directions (for example, ‘10 km S and 5 km W of Bikini Atoll’) are always linear

measurements.

Sometimes the environmental constraints of the collected specimen can imply

the method of measurement of the offset. For example, ‘30 km W of Boonville,

California’ if taken as a linear measurement, would lie in the Paciﬁc Ocean. If this

locality is supposed to refer to the collection site of a terrestrial mammal, it is likely

that the collector followed the road heading west out of Boonville, winding toward

the coast, in which case the animal was collected on land.

If either of the above methods fail to distinguish the offset method, it may be

necessary to refer to more detailed supplementary sources, such as ﬁeld notes or

itineraries, to determine this information. Supplementary sources do not always

exist or they may not contain additional information, making it difﬁcult to

distinguish between offsets meant to be along a path and those meant to be along a

straight line. A particularly conservative approach is to not georeference localities

that fall into this category and instead record a comment explaining the reasoning.

However, value can still be derived by georeferencing localities that suffer from

Point-radius method for georeferencing 751

this ambiguity. One solution for dealing with these localities is to determine the

coordinates based on one or the other of the offset paths. Another solution is use

the midpoint between all possible paths. There may be discipline-speciﬁc reasons to

choose one solution over another, but the georeferencer should always document

the choice and accommodate the ambiguity in the uncertainty calculations.

3.3. Step three: Calculate uncertainties

The second key to consistent georeferencing using the point-radius method

(after determining the coordinates of the point) is to have well-deﬁned rules

for determining the radius of the circle that encompasses the locality and all of

its associated uncertainties. Whenever subjectivity is involved, it is preferable to

overestimate uncertainty. We have identiﬁed the following six sources of

uncertainty inherent in descriptive localities or the resources used to georeference

them:

1) extent of the locality

2) unknown datum

3) imprecision in distance measurements

4) imprecision in direction measurements

5) imprecision in coordinate measurements

6) map scale

3.3.1. Uncertainty due to the extent of the locality

The extents of named places mentioned in locality descriptions are an important

source of uncertainty. Not only are the rules for assigning coordinates to named

places largely undocumented in most coordinate data sources, but also the points of

reference may change over time – post ofﬁces and courthouses are relocated, towns

change in size, and so on. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the collector paid

attention to any particular convention when reporting a locality as an offset from a

named place. For example, ‘4 km E of Bariloche’ may have been measured from the

post ofﬁce at the civic plaza, or from the bus station on the eastern edge of town, or

from anywhere else in Bariloche. In most cases we no longer have a way of knowing

the actual location used to anchor the offset.

The maximum uncertainty due to the extent of the named place (ﬁgure 1) is the

maximum distance between any two points within the named place (the ‘span’). If

we have coordinates for a named place from a gazetteer, for example, without

knowing where in the named place those coordinates lie, then the span is the

uncertainty due to the extent of the named place. If we have a map of the named

place, then a more reﬁned uncertainty estimate can be made by measuring the

distance from the point marked by the coordinates to the point in the named place

furthest from those coordinates. The magnitude of the uncertainty value is

minimized if the coordinates mark the geographic centre of the named place and is

generally about half the span of the locality.

Many localities are based on named places that have changed in size over time;

current maps might not reﬂect the extents of those places at the time specimens

were collected there. If possible, extents should be determined using maps dating

from the same period as the specimen collecting events. In most cases, the current

extent of a named place will be greater than its historical extent and the uncertainty

752 J. Wieczorek et al.

will be somewhat overestimated if current maps are used. It is recommended to

record the named place, its extent, and the source of these data while georeferencing

so that users of the data can verify this important component of the uncertainty

calculation.

3.3.2. Uncertainty due to an unknown datum

A geodetic datum is a mathematical description of the size and shape of the

earth and of the origin and orientation of coordinate systems. Seldom in natural

history collections have geographic coordinates been recorded together with

geodetic datum information. Even now, with GPS coordinates being recorded as

deﬁnitive locations, the geodetic datum is typically ignored. A missing datum

reference introduces a complicated ambiguity, which varies geographically (Welch

and Homsey 1997).

Many currently available maps of North America are based on the North

American Datum of 1927 (NAD27), but the North American Datum of 1983

(NAD83) is being used increasingly more often among newer maps. NAD83 is

essentially the same as the World Geodetic System of 1984 datum (WGS84), a

standard reference datum for the Global Positioning Systems (Defense Mapping

Agency 1991). We calculated the magnitude of uncertainty for North America

(Canada, USA, and Mexico) based on the differences between NAD27 and

NAD83/WGS84 (ﬁgure 2) using transformation functions in ArcGIS (ESRI,

Redlands, CA, USA). The uncertainty from not knowing which of these datums

was used to determine the coordinates varies in the contiguous USA from 0–104 m.

In the extreme western Aleutian Islands of Alaska, the discrepancy can be as much

as 237 m, while in Hawaii the differences are consistently ca. 500 m. On the global

scale, we calculated a maximum uncertainty of 3552 m due to an unknown datum.

This value was obtained by comparing pairwise distances between all combinations

of datums listed in the WGS84 deﬁnition (NIMA 2000) at one degree intervals in

both latitude and longitude. Given the potential magnitude of this uncertainty,

every effort should be made to use coordinate sources that provide datum

information and to record the datum of those sources as a routine part of data

collection.

3.3.3. Imprecision as a source of uncertainty

Precision is a measure of the speciﬁcity with which a measurement is recorded.

Precision can be difﬁcult to gauge from a locality description; it is seldom, if ever,

explicitly recorded. Further, a database record may not reﬂect, or may reﬂect

incorrectly, the precision inherent in the original measurements, especially if the

Figure 1. The maximum (AB) and minimum (BC) uncertainties due to the extent of a

named place (shaded area).

Point-radius method for georeferencing 753

locality description in the database has undergone standardization, reformatting, or

secondary interpretation of the original description. There are distinct implications

that arise from the level of precision in distance measurements, directions

(headings), and coordinates. These are addressed in the subsections below.

3.3.3.1. Uncertainty associated with distance precision.Distance may be recorded in

a locality description with or without signiﬁcant digits, and those digits may or may

not be warranted. Distances are commonly recorded with few or no signiﬁcant

digits, or even with fractions. Locality descriptions may also have undergone

reformatting to remove fractions or signiﬁcant digits. For example, suppose a

specimen label was written in the ﬁeld as locality ‘Lkm W of Inverness’, which was

entered into a database as ‘0.75 km W of Inverness’. In the original, it is clear that

Figure 2. Uncertainty from not knowing whether coordinates were taken from a source

using NAD27 or NAD83 – the geodetic datums most commonly used on maps in

Canada, the USA, and Mexico.

754 J. Wieczorek et al.

the collector was conﬁdent of recording the distance with one quarter km precision.

Without consulting the specimen tag it may be difﬁcult to determine how much

distance precision is warranted. If the original tag is not consulted, then a

conservative way to ensure that distance precision is not inﬂated is to treat distance

measurements as integers with fractional remainders, thus 10.25 becomes 10 J,

thus accounting for the possible (and not uncommon) transformation of a fraction

in the original data to a real number in the database record. The uncertainty for

these distances should be calculated based on the fractional part of the distance,

using 1 divided by the denominator of the fraction.

Examples: ‘9 km N of Bakersﬁeld’ (fraction is 1/1, uncertainty should be 1 km)

‘9.5 km N of Bakersﬁeld’ (fraction is ½, uncertainty should be 0.5 km)

‘9.75 km N of Bakersﬁeld’ (fraction is L, uncertainty should be 0.25 km)

‘9.6 km N of Bakersﬁeld’ (fraction is 6/10, uncertainty shouldbe 0.1 km)

For measurements that appear as integer multiples of powers of 10 (for

example, 10, 20, 300, 4000), use 0.5 times ten to that power for the uncertainty.

Examples: ‘140 km N of Bakersﬁeld’ (uncertainty should be 5 km)

‘100 km N of Bakersﬁeld’ (uncertainty should be 50 km)

‘2000 m N of Bakersﬁeld’ (uncertainty should be 500 m)

3.3.3.2. Uncertainty associated with directional precision.Direction is almost always

expressed in locality descriptions using cardinal or inter-cardinal directions rather

than degree headings. This practise can introduce uncertainty due to directional

imprecision. The problem arises from the fact that we don’t know, out of context,

what the recorder meant by ‘north’ except that it is distinct from the other cardinal

directions. Hence, ‘north’ is not ‘east’ or ‘west’, but it could be any direction

between northeast and northwest. The directional uncertainty in these cases is 45

degrees in either direction from the given heading.

Example: ‘10 mi N of Bakersﬁeld’

If a related set of locality descriptions (for example, those by a collector on a

given expedition) contain any directions more speciﬁc than the cardinal directions

(for example, ‘NE’), then the person recording the data was demonstrably sensitive

to inter-cardinal directions. Thus, ‘NE’ could mean any direction between ENE and

NNE. The directional uncertainty in these cases is 22.5 degrees in either direction

from the given heading.

Example: ‘10 mi NE of Bakersﬁeld’

A locality description that contains further reﬁned directions is correspondingly

more precise. Thus, in the following example the directional uncertainty is 11.25

degrees.

Example: ‘10 mi ENE of Bakersﬁeld’

If the locality description contains two orthogonal directions, convention holds

that the measurements are linear in exactly those directions. In this case there is no

directional imprecision.

Example: ‘10 mi N and 5 mi E of Bakersﬁeld’

3.3.3.3. Uncertainty associated with coordinate precision.Recording coordinates

with insufﬁcient precision can result in unnecessary uncertainties. Therefore, as

many digits of precision as are reported by the source should be retained when

recording geographic coordinates. The magnitude of the uncertainty due to

Point-radius method for georeferencing 755

coordinate imprecision is a function not only of the precision with which the data

are recorded, but also a function of the datum and the coordinates themselves.

Uncertainty due to the imprecision with which the original coordinates were

recorded can be estimated as follows:

uncertainty~ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

lat error2zlong error2

pð1Þ

where

lat error~pR|(coordinate precision)=180:0

and

long error~pX|(coordinate precision)=180:0

where Ris the radius of curvature of the meridian at the given latitude, Xis the

distance from the point to the polar axis, orthogonal to the polar axis, and

coordinate precision is the precision with which the coordinates were recorded, as a

fraction of one degree. Ris given by Equation 2.

R~a1{e2

.1{e2sin2latitudeðÞ

3=2ð2Þ

where ais the semi-major axis of the reference ellipsoid (the radius at the equator)

and eis the ﬁrst eccentricity of the reference ellipsoid, deﬁned by Equation 3.

e2~2f{f2ð3Þ

where fis the ﬂattening of the reference ellipsoid. Xis also a function of geodetic

latitude and is given by Equation 4.

X~Ncos latitudeðÞ ð4Þ

where Nis the radius of curvature in the prime vertical at the given latitude and is

deﬁned by Equation 5.

N~aﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

1{e2sin2latitudeðÞ

qð5Þ

Example: Latitude~10.27; Longitude~2123.6; Datum~WGS84

In this example the coordinate precision is 0.01 degrees. Thus, lat_error~

1.1061 km, long_error~1.0955 km, and the uncertainty resulting from the combina-

tion of the two is 1.5568 km. These calculations use a semi-major axis (a)of

6378137.0 m and a ﬂattening ( f) of 1/298.25722356 based on the WGS84 datum.

Examples of error contributions for different levels of precision in the original

coordinates (using the WGS84 reference ellipsoid) are given in table 2. Calculations

are based on the same degree of imprecision in both coordinates and are given for

several different latitudes.

3.3.4. Uncertainty due to map scale

Maps have an inherent level of accuracy. Unfortunately, the accuracy of many

maps, particularly old ones, is undocumented. Accuracy standards generally explain

the physical error tolerance on a printed map, so that the net uncertainty is

dependent on the map scale. Following are the map accuracy standards published

by the US Geological Survey: ‘For maps on publication scales larger than 1:20,000,

not more than 10 percent of the points tested shall be in error by more than 1/30 inch,

756 J. Wieczorek et al.

measured on the publication scale; for maps on publication scales of 1:20,000 or

smaller, 1/50 inch’ (USGS 1999).

It is important to note that a digital map is never more accurate than the

original from which it was derived, nor is it more accurate when you zoom in on it.

The accuracy is strictly a function of the scale and digitizing errors of the original

map. A value of 1 mm of error can be used on maps for which the standards are not

published. This corresponds to about three times the detectable graphical error and

should serve well as an uncertainty estimate for most maps. By this rule, the

uncertainty for a map of scale 1:500 000, for example, is 500 m.

3.4. Step four: calculate combined uncertainties

The uncertainties associated with a given locality description depend on the

coordinate source, of which we identify four categories: GPS, locality record,

gazetteer, and map. Table 3 shows the potential sources of uncertainty that may be

relevant for each of the four categories. We describe how to calculate the various

combinations of uncertainties in the subsections below.

3.4.1. Calculating uncertainties having no directional imprecision

Distance uncertainties in any given direction are linear and additive. Following

is an example of a simple locality description and an explanation of the manner in

which multiple sources of uncertainty interact.

Example: ‘6 km E (via Highway 58) of Bakersﬁeld’

The potential sources of uncertainty for this example are 1) the extent of

Table 2. Uncertainty in meters as a function of latitude. Estimates of uncertainty are based

on coordinate precision measured in degrees using the WGS84 reference ellipsoid and

are rounded up to the next greater integer value.

Precision

Latitude

0 degrees 30 degrees 60 degrees 85 degrees

1.0 156904 146962 124605 112109

0.1 15691 14697 12461 11211

0.01 1570 1470 1247 1122

0.001 157 147 125 113

0.0001 16 15 13 12

0.00001 2 2 2 2

Table 3. Potential sources of uncertainty inherent in georeferencing descriptive localities

using four common sources of coordinates.

Coordinate

source

Source of uncertainty

GPS

inaccuracy

locality

extent

unknown

datum

coordinate

imprecision

distance

imprecision

map

scale

direction

imprecision

GPS X X X X

locality

record

XX X

map X X X X X X

gazetteer X X X X X

Point-radius method for georeferencing 757

Bakersﬁeld, 2) an unknown datum, 3) distance imprecision, and 4) map scale.

Suppose the centre of Bakersﬁeld is 3 km from the eastern city limit and the

distance is being measured on a USGS map at 1:100,000 scale with the NAD27

datum. The uncertainty due to the extent of Bakersﬁeld is 3 km, there is no

uncertainty due to an unknown datum, the distance imprecision is 1 km, and the

uncertainty due to map scale is 51 m (167 ft). The overall uncertainty for this

locality is the sum of these, or 4.051 km.

If there are two orthogonal offsets from a named place in the locality

description, uncertainties apply to each of the directions and the combination of

them is non-linear.

Example: ‘6 km E and 8 km N of Bakersﬁeld’

For the example above, ignore, for the moment, all sources of uncertainty

except those arising from distance imprecision. Under this simpliﬁcation, a proper

description of the uncertainty is a bounding box centred on the point 6 km E and

8 km N of Bakersﬁeld. Each side of the box is 2 km in length (1 km uncertainty in

each cardinal direction from the centre). In order to characterize the net uncertainty

with a single distance measurement, we need to calculate the radius of the circle

that circumscribes the above-mentioned bounding box. The radius could either be

measured on a map or calculated using a right triangle, the hypotenuse of which is

the line between the centre of the bounding box and a corner. Given the rule that

the distance precision is the same in both cardinal directions, the triangle will

always be a right isosceles triangle and the hypotenuse will always be ﬃﬃﬃ

2

ptimes the

distance precision. So, for the above example the uncertainty associated with the

distance precision alone is 1.414 km (ﬁgure 3).

Thus far we have accounted only for distance precision in this example. To

incorporate the uncertainty due to extent, determine the distance from the

geographic centre of the named place to the furthest point within the named place

in either of the two cardinal directions mentioned in the locality description. Add

this distance to the uncertainty due to the distance precision and multiply the sum

by ﬃﬃﬃ

2

p. Suppose the furthest extent of the city limits of Bakersﬁeld either east or

north from the geographic centre is 3 km. There is a total of 4 km of uncertainty in

each of the two directions and the radius of the circumscribing circle is 4 km times

ﬃﬃﬃ

2

p, or 5.657 km (ﬁgure 4).

Suppose the coordinates for Bakersﬁeld (35‡22’24@N, 119‡01’04@W) are taken

from the GNIS database (USGS 1981), in which the datum is either NAD27 or

NAD83, and the coordinates are given with precision to the nearest second. At this

location the uncertainty due to an unknown datum is 79 m. The datum uncertainty

contributes in each of the orthogonal directions. Thus, the summed uncertainty in

each direction is 4.079 km and the net uncertainty is this number times ﬃﬃﬃ

2

p,or

5.769 km.

The coordinates in the GNIS database are given to the nearest second. The

uncertainty due to coordinate precision alone is about 39 m at the latitude of

Bakersﬁeld based on Equation 1. This number already accounts for the

contributions in both cardinal directions, so it must not be multiplied by ﬃﬃﬃ

2

p.

Instead, simply add the coordinate precision uncertainty to the calculated sum of

uncertainties from the other sources. For the example above, the net uncertainty is

5.769z0.039~5.808 km.

If the coordinates for Bakersﬁeld had been taken from a USGS map with a

758 J. Wieczorek et al.

scale of 1:100 000, the datum would be on the map, so there would be no

contribution to the error from an unknown datum (assuming the georeferencer

records the datum with the coordinates). However, the uncertainty due to the map

scale would have to be considered. For a USGS map at 1:100 000 scale, the

uncertainty is 167 ft, or 51 m (based on the USGS map accuracy standards). In the

above example, the uncertainty in each direction is 4.051 km. When multiplied by

ﬃﬃﬃ

2

p, their combination is 5.729 km. Add the uncertainty due to coordinate

imprecision to this value to get the net uncertainty. Suppose the minutes are

marked on the margin of the map and we interpolated to get coordinates to the

nearest tenth of a minute. The coordinate precision is 0.1 minutes and the

uncertainty is 0.239 km from this source, therefore the maximum error distance is

5.769z0.239~5.968 km.

3.4.2. Calculating combined distance and direction uncertainties

The distance uncertainties in a given direction are linear and additive, but their

sum contributes non-linearly to the uncertainty arising from directional impreci-

sion. An additional technique is required to account for the correlation between

these two types of imprecision.

Figure 3. Uncertainty due to distance imprecision for two orthogonal offsets from the

centre of a named place.

Point-radius method for georeferencing 759

Example: ‘9 km NE of Bakersﬁeld’

Without considering distance precision, the directional uncertainty (ﬁgure 5) is

encompassed by an arc centred (at the coordinates x,y)10km(d) from the centre of

Bakersﬁeld at a heading of 45 degrees (h), extending 22.5 degrees in either direction

Figure 4. Uncertainty due to the combination of distance imprecision and the extent of a

named place.

Figure 5. Uncertainty (e) due to direction imprecision for a direction speciﬁed as northeast

(NE). The actual direction could be anywhere between ENE and NNE; erepresents

the maximum distance by which the actual locality could vary from reported locality.

760 J. Wieczorek et al.

from that point. At this scale the distance (e) from the centre of the arc to the

furthest extent of the arc (at x’,y’) at a heading of 22.5 degrees (h’) from the centre

of Bakersﬁeld is given by Equation 6.

e~ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

x0{xðÞ

2zy0{yðÞ

2

qð6Þ

where x~dcos(h), y~dsin(h), x’~dcos(h’), and y’~dsin(h’). For the example

above, the uncertainty (e) due to the direction imprecision is 3.512 km.

Now consider the distance uncertainties in this example. Suppose the

contributions to distance uncertainty are 3 km (extent of Bakersﬁeld), 1 km

(distance precision for ‘9 km’), 0.079 km (unknown datum), and 0.040 km (gazetteer

data are recorded to the nearest second) for a sum of 4.119 km. The shape of the

region describing the combination of distance and direction uncertainties will be a

band twice this width (2 64.119~8.238 km) centred (at the coordinates x,y)onan

arc offset from the origin by 9 km, spanning 22.5 degrees on either side of the NE

heading (ﬁgure 6). Uncertainty is still calculated with Equation 6, but now

x’~(dzd’) cos(h’), and y’~(dzd’) sin(h’), where d’is the sum of the distance

uncertainties.

The geometry can be generalized and simpliﬁed, by rotating the image in ﬁgure 6

so that the point (x’,y’) is on the xaxis (ﬁgure 7). After rotation, Equation 6 still

holds, but now x~dcos(a), y~dsin(a), x’~dzd’, and y’~0, where d’is still the

sum of the distance uncertainties and a is an angle equal to the magnitude of the

direction uncertainty. For the example above, the distance uncertainty is 4.119 km

and the direction uncertainty is 22.5 degrees. Given these values, the maximum

error distance is 5.918 km.

Figure 6. Uncertainty (e) due to the combination of distance imprecision (d’) and direction

imprecision (h’) for a locality specifying an offset (d) northeast (NE) of the centre of

a named place. The actual locality could be anywhere between ENE and NNE and

up to a distance d’either side of the offset d.

Point-radius method for georeferencing 761

3.5. Step ﬁve: calculating overall error

Thapa and Bossler (1992) distinguish between primary and secondary data

collection. Primary data are taken directly from the ﬁeld (ground surveying,

remotely sensed imagery, GPS readings). Secondary data are derived from existing

documents (maps, charts, graphs, gazetteers). Errors in secondary data consist not

only of those introduced in primary data collection (such as human and

instrumental errors), but also of those introduced from secondary data collection

(such as errors due to map inaccuracy). The post facto process of georeferencing

specimen locality descriptions relies heavily on secondary data. Thapa and Bossler

(1992) conclude that it is difﬁcult, if not impossible, to calculate the total error

introduced by secondary data collection, because the functional relationships

among the various sources of error are unknown. They assume a linear relationship

between the total error and individual errors (e

i

, typically Root Mean Square

[RMS] is used), and apply the law of error propagation (Equation 7).

Total error~ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

e2

1ze2

2z...ze2

n

qð7Þ

where e

n2

is the standard error for source of error n.

There are a number of ambiguities that arise in locality descriptions to which

root mean square errors and the law of error propagation cannot be readily

applied. For example, how does one ﬁnd the RMS error in the interpretation of

‘‘west’’? In addition, many of our individual error components, such as the error

from having an unknown datum, do not have a Normal distribution. For these

reasons, we have calculated maximum potential errors. The error propagation law

does not apply to this type of error. Instead, we calculate total error as the sum of

individual error components (Equation 8), and not as the square root of the sum of

the squared errors (Equation 7; which would always leads to a lower estimate than

Equation 8).

Maximum uncertainty~XuizXudð8Þ

Figure 7. Uncertainty diagram rotated to simplify the equation for the net uncertainty (e)–

the combination of distance and direction uncertainties.

762 J. Wieczorek et al.

where uis the maximum uncertainty for independent (i) or dependent (d) sources of

error.

Like Thapa and Bossler (1992), we assume a linear relationship between total

error and individual errors for which there is no known functional relationship

(all ‘independent’ uncertainties u

i

). Uncertainties that do have known relationships

(all ‘dependent’ uncertainties u

d

; for example, uncertainty due to distance and

directional imprecision) are combined ﬁrst on the basis of their relationships and

are then combined linearly to achieve the overall maximum uncertainty.

3.6. Step six: document the georeferencing process

When georeferencing a locality description, it is important to document the

process by which the data were determined and record this information with each

locality record so that anyone who encounters the data will beneﬁt from the effort

expended in providing a high-quality georeference. We recommend that the list of

attributes recorded for each georeferenced locality include decimal latitude, decimal

longitude, horizontal datum, net uncertainty (distance and units), original

coordinate system, name of the person, organization, or software version that

georeferenced the locality, georeferencing date, references used, reason if not

georeferenced, named place, extent of the named place, determination method (for

example, the point-radius method), veriﬁcation status, and the assumptions made.

With completely documented georeferenced localities, researchers who use the data

can quickly verify that the georeferencing was done correctly.

4. Discussion

The point-radius method described here was developed to meet the georeferen-

cing challenges of the MaNIS project, in which more than 40 individuals have used

these methods in a collaborative georeferencing effort covering locality descriptions

from all over the world. Localities were grouped by geographic region for the

MaNIS project, with each participating institution georeferencing all of the

localities within a given region for all participating institutions. A Java applet to

calculate coordinates and uncertainties (ﬁgure 8) for the point-radius method was

created by the ﬁrst author and is freely available for use in Internet web browsers

(Wieczorek 2001). Uncertainty calculations using this tool are simple, fast, and

yield consistent results. Georeferencing rates for geographic regions varied,

depending heavily on the resources that were available to the georeferencers.

Where digital maps were available for a geographic region, the mean (¡1 SD)

georeferencing rate was 16.6 (¡8.3) localities per hour (n~14 data sets from 14

institutions). The mean georeferencing rate for regions where printed maps were

used instead of digital media was 9.6 (¡6.8) localities per hour (n~39 data sets

from four institutions). These rates include the determinations of both coordinates

and uncertainties, with full documentation as recommended in section 3.5.

The georeferencing rates reported for MaNIS include only those data sets that

were georeferenced manually, without the beneﬁt of automated techniques.

Preliminary tests suggest that the efﬁciency of georeferencing can be increased

through automation, but that the resulting georeferences need to go through an

extra veriﬁcation step to ensure that the interpretation of the descriptive locality

was made correctly. Even without automation, systematic error checking is

necessary to ﬁnd inaccurate locality descriptions or incorrectly georeferenced

Point-radius method for georeferencing 763

localities. Some errors can be exposed by analyses that include complementary data

sets. One test for georeferenced localities is to determine if the coordinates for the

locality lie within the correct administrative boundaries, such as a country or lower

level geographic unit (Hijmans et al. 1999). A more interesting test can be made by

combining locality data for a given species with environmental data for those

localities to reveal ecological ‘outliers’ that may have resulted from inaccuracies in

the locality description or from the misidentiﬁcation of the specimen. Another

example is to plot the collecting events of an expedition in temporal order; localities

that lie outside of the normal patterns in the expedition may be in error. These

examples illustrate that GIS can be used post-hoc to improve the quality of the

original data as well as to validate georeferences.

We have identiﬁed individual sources of error associated with the coordinates of

a point that represents a collection locality, and we have provided methods for

quantifying these individual error components in terms of maximum potential

error. We suggest summing the individual maximum error components because

commonly used alternative approaches, such as the law of error propagation, do

not readily apply.

Without baseline test data, it is also difﬁcult to produce error descriptions using

alternative, fuzzy models (Altman 1994; Cross and Firat 2000), because this

approach also relies on functions to describe error distributions. However, the law

of error propagation, using standard errors, as well as fuzzy methods would be

useful for determining error contributions for different coordinate sources (maps,

gazetteer, and GIS layers, for example) where test data are available. These

methods could even prove viable under limited circumstances for the much more

difﬁcult case of georeferencing locality descriptions. Appropriate error functions

Figure 8. Screen shot of the Georeferencing Calculator after coordinates and uncertainty

for a locality comprised of an offset at a heading have been calculated.

764 J. Wieczorek et al.

would have to be built from sets of locality descriptions for which the true localities

were known. These functions might then be applied to localities of similar syntax.

Nevertheless, the one goal of this study is to provide an effective means to ﬁlter

individual records based on the upper bound of the combination of all uncertainties

inherent in the assignment of coordinates to a place with a spatial extent. By careful

speciﬁcation of the assumptions and of the techniques for combining uncertainties,

we present a simple, practical method for computing and recording geographic

coordinates and assigning this ‘‘maximum’’ uncertainty to each individual locality

description.

The methods in this study provide an effective means to ﬁlter individual records

based on the upper bound of the combination of all uncertainties inherent in the

assignment of coordinates to a place with a spatial extent. In addition, more

elaborate methods could be developed to use the uncertainty associated with a

georeference in analysis, using fuzzy logic or other approaches (Burrough and

McDonnel, 1998). Every georeference is a hypothesis. Before georeferenced data are

used in analyses, every effort should be made to ensure that the locality description

accurately describes the place where the specimen was collected. This is particularly

true of localities reported with coordinates; even though the coordinates may

accurately refer to a speciﬁc location such as beginning of a trap line, the specimens

may have been collected over a considerably greater area. Collectors should also be

aware of this problem and annotate their localities to avoid underestimations of the

extent of the locality.

5. Summary

The point-radius method provides a practical solution for georeferencing

descriptive localities that can be widely implemented, especially in communities

where sophisticated GIS expertise is lacking. By accounting for the size of the

locality, the point-radius method provides a more accurate description of a locality

than is possible with the point method. By providing a single measure of the

combination of uncertainties inherent in the locality description, the applicability of

a locality for a given analysis can be more readily discerned than with the bounding

box method. By capturing the spatial attributes of the locality in a simple,

consistent set of parameters, the point-radius method offers a solution that is

practical for natural history collections without the need for spatial databases that

would be necessary to store georeferences created using the shape method.

Checking for and correcting errors can be time consuming. With a well-deﬁned

georeferencing method, appropriate tools, and proper documentation of the

resulting data, the number of errors will be minimized and the results of effort

expended to georeference the locality will be available in perpetuity.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Stan Blum, Elizabeth Proctor, and George

Chaplin for their early inspiration to develop rigorous georeferencing methods.

Larry Speers encouraged us to develop and document methods that are practical

for natural history collections. Gary Shugart and Reed Beaman have provided

critical analysis of the point-radius method and have investigated means to

automate the process. Eileen Lacey provided useful discussion and criticism. Craig

Wieczorek provided programming assistance. We extend special thanks to Barbara

Point-radius method for georeferencing 765

Stein and the numerous participants in the MaNIS Project, without whose practical

feedback and encouragement these methods would not likely have been elaborated.

Funding leading to this publication was generously provided by the National

Science Foundation (DBI #0108161) and the UC Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate

Zoology.

References

ADL (Alexandria Digital Library), 2001, Alexandria Digital Library Gazetteer Server (http://

fat-albert.alexandria.ucsb.edu:8827/gazetteer/).

ALTMAN, D., 1994, Fuzzy set theoretic approaches for handling imprecision in spatial

analysis. International Journal of Geographical Information Systems,8, 271–289.

BONNER, M. R., HAN, D., NIE, J., ROGERSON, P., VENA, J. E., and FREUDENHEIM, A. L.,

2003, Positional accuracy of geocoded addresses in epidemiologic research.

Epidemiology,14, 408–412.

BURROUGH, P. A., and MCDONNEL, R. A., 1998, Fuzzy sets and fuzzy geographical objects.

In Principles of Geographical Information Systems (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University

Press), pp. 265–291.

CROSS, V., and FIRAT, A., 2000, Fuzzy objects for geographical information systems. Fuzzy

Sets and Systems,113, 19–36.

DRUMMOND, J., 1990, A framework for handling error in Geographic Data manipulation.

In Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems: A Compendium, ASPRS,

pp. 109–118.

DEFENSE MAPPING AGENCY, 1991, Department of Defense World Geodetic System 1984, Its

Deﬁnition and Relationships with Local Geodetic Systems (2nd edition), DMA

Technical Report 8350.2, Defense Mapping Agency, Fairfax, Virginia.

DUCKWORTH, W. D., GENOWAYS, H. H., and ROSE, C. L., 1993, Preserving natural science

collections: chronicle of our environmental heritage. National Institute for the

Conservation of Cultural Property, Washington, D.C.

FGDC (Federal Geographic Data Committee), 1998, Geospatial positioning accuracy

standards. Part 3. National standard for spatial data accuracy. Federal Geographic

Data Committee, FGDC-STD-007.3-1998, Virginia, USA.

FISHER, P. F., 1999, Models of Uncertainty in Spatial Data. In Geographical Information

Systems, edited by P. A. Longley, M. F. Goodchild, D. J. Maguire and D. W. Rhind

(New York: John Wiley & Sons), pp.191–205.

GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility), 2002, Draft Report of the Meeting of the

Digitization of Natural History Collections Scientiﬁc and Technical Advisory Group of

the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. (Kopenhagen: GBIF).

GOODCHILD, M. F., and HUNTER, G. J., 1997, A simple positional accuracy measure for

linear features. International Journal of Geographical Information Science,11,

299–306.

HIJMANS, R. J., SCHREUDER, M., DELACRUZ, J., and GUARINO, L., 1999, Using GIS to

check co-ordinates of germplasm accessions. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution,

46, 291–296.

KNYAZHNITSKIY, O. V., MONK, R. R., PARKER, N. C., and BAKER, R. J., 2000, Assignment

of global information system coordinates to classical museum localities for relational

database analyses. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University,199, 1–15.

KRISHTALKA, L., and HUMPHREY, P. S., 2000, Can natural history museums capture the

future? BioScience,50, 611–617.

KU-BRC (University of Kansas Biodiversity Research Centre), 2002, Lifemapper (http://

www.lifemapper.org).

LEUNG, Y., and YAN, J. P., 1998, A locational error model for spatial features. International

Journal of Geographical Information Science,12, 607–620.

MaNIS (Mammal Networked Information System), 2001, (http://elib.cs.berkeley.edu/manis/).

MCLAREN, S. B., AUGUST, P. V., CARRAWAY, L. N., CATO, P. S., GANNON, W. L.,

LAWRENCE, M. A., SLADE, N. A., SUDMAN, P. D., THORINGTON, R. D., WILLIAMS,

S. L., and WOODWARD, S. M., 1999, Documentation standards for automatic data

766 J. Wieczorek et al.

processing in mammalogy, Version 2. Committee on Information Retrieval, American

Society of Mammalogists.

NIMA (United States National Imagery and Mapping Agency), 2000, Department of

Defense World Geodetic System 1984. Its Deﬁnition and Relationships with Local

Geodetic Systems. TR8350.2, Third Edition, (Bethesda, Maryland: NIMA).

STANISLAWSKI, L. V., DEWITT, B. A., and SHRESTHA, R. L., 1996, Estimating positional

accuracy of data layers within a GIS through error propagation. Photogrammetric

Engineering and Remote Sensing,62, 429–433.

THAPA, K., and BOSSLER, J., 1992, Accuracy of Spatial Data Used in Geographic

Information-Systems. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing,58, 835–841.

USGS (United States Geological Survey), 1981, Geographic Names Information System.

(http://nsdi.usgs.gov/products/gnis.html).

USGS (United States Geological Survey), 1999, National Mapping Program Technical

Instructions. Part 2. Speciﬁcations. Standards for Digital Line Graphs. (Reston,

Virginia: USGS).

VAN NIEL, T. G., and MCVICAR, T. R., 2002, Experimental evaluation of positional accuracy

estimates from a linear network using point- and line-based testing methods.

International Journal of Geographical Information Science,16, 455–473.

VEREGIN, H., 2000, Quantifying positional error induced by line simpliﬁcation. International

Journal of Geographical Information Science,14, 113–130.

WELCH, R., and HOMSEY, A., 1997, Datum shifts for UTM coordinates. Photogrammetic

Engineering and Remote Sensing,63, 371–375.

WIECZOREK, J. R., 2001, Georeferencing Calculator (http://bnhm.berkeley.museum/manis/

GC.html).

Point-radius method for georeferencing 767