Georeferencing

I recently posted that I completed inputting the label information for the genus Arnica for the Tritrophic Project.  When I asked Mari Roberts, who supervises volunteers for the project, for a new genus to work on, she gave me Eurybia, but she also suggested that I learn to georeference and to create distribution maps.  I took a very brief but intensive georeferencing course last week at New York Botanical Garden and left with a homework assignment that I’ve been attempting to work through before our distribution map class next week.  Becoming a student yet again is a great experience for a teacher because it is a reminder how difficult it can be to learn something entirely new.  While I have used Google Maps for years to get from point A to point B, I had never attempted to find latitude and longitude coordinates or distances with the mapping tools.  Because our workshop was compressed (3 days into 2 hours), we whizzed by material that I am now trying to absorb it.  I’ve done the first part of the assignment: finding coordinates for various types of localities.  Now I have to work on figuring out uncertainties for different kinds of label descriptions–a locality, a distance from a locality, between two localities.  Then I have to learn how to determine the degree of certainty for the measurements I make.  One thing that I’ve learned already is that georeferencing is much more complicated and time-intensive than inputting label info!

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