Crash Course in Georeferencing

Aimed for fast, practical introduction to the data standards, distributed network project partners of VertNet, tools and practice of georeferencing natural history records. All curatorial assistants at the MVZ are strongly urged to take this and may be required for your position.

1-Day version in 2014:



1. Introduction & Collaborative Informatics Projects

What is MaNIS, ORNIS, HerpNET, FishNet2? What is VertNet?

Georeferencing guidelines and procedures developed from these projects (MaNIS/HerpNET/ORNIS Georeferencing Guidelines)

2. What is a georeference? MHO Guidelines & Georeferencing Terms/Concepts (DarwinCore)

Point-Radius method of georeferencing.

Data Quality standards increase fitness for use.

Maximum Uncertainty calculation is important component of data quality.


  • Named Place
  • Extent
  • Linear Extent
  • Offset
  • Heading
  • CoordinateUncertaintyinMeters = Maximum Error Distance

3. Geographic Terms/ Concepts

  • Geodetic Datum
  • Coordinate Reference Systems: Lat/Long, UTM, PLSS
  • Map Projection
  • Paper Map Anatomy

4. Sources of Uncertainty (= Maximum Error)

Maximum Error is a aggregation of the error factors including: coordinate uncertainty; map scale; extent; GPS accuracy; datum; imprecision in direction measurements; imprecision in distance measurements

5. Good and Bad Localities – Examples from the MVZ Handbook

6. GeoLocate– online semi-automated georeferencing tool

What it is, how to use it, what kind of localities it works best for


    • Cleveland National Forest, El Capitan Reservoir downstream of dam, E Lakeside, elev. 600 ft., San Diego County

Exercises: Find these!

    • NE Cor SW 1/4 Sec 35, T16S, R17E, Imp Valley Invest.
    • 1940 11th Ave, Oakland, Alameda County
    • 5 miles south, 5 miles east Lakeside, San Diego County, CA

7. Online Resources, Demo

MVZ’s Locality guidelines (from the field to Data Entry)

HerpNet Website for Georeferencing Resources (many links included here)

Canadensys Georeferencing Website

Google Maps: Demo

AcmeMapper: Demo

Named Place Gazetteers:

GEONET Names Server (GNS)

Falling Rain


Getty Thesaurus

2-Day version in 2013:

Part 1 – September 14th, 1-5 pm

EXERCISE–Download Paper Map worksheet here

HANDOUT–Paper Map Methods here

Georeferencing for Dummies (XLS)

Georeferencing Calculator (link opens new window)

PPT–Part 1 – Introduction, Point-Radius Method, Geographic Concepts, Georeferencing Concepts, Paper Maps

Part 2 – September 21st, 1-5 pm

EXERCISE — 2011_online_Exercises

HANDOUT– Quick and Dirty Guide

Online Resources List — opens a new window

PPT — Part 2 – Good & Bad Localities, Online Resources, BioGeomancer, GeoLocate


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