Georeferencing for Paleo Workshop

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This wiki provides logistical resources for the workshop Georeferencing for Paleo: Refreshing the approach to fossil localities. Additional resources that we expect to be active beyond the lifespan of the workshop are hosted on GitHub by the TDWG Earth Sciences and Paleobiology Interest Group.

General Information

When: April 28 & 29, 2020; 9:00-10:30am MDT each day (check your local time here)
Where: Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT **due to concern for COVID-19 this workshop will now be held entirely remotely**
Organizers: Carrie Levitt-Bussian (Natural History Museum of Utah), Holly Little (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History), Talia Karim (University of Colorado Boulder), Erica Krimmel (iDigBio), Deborah Paul (iDigBio)
Expected number of participants: 40

This workshop will follow iDigBio's Code of Conduct.

Goals & Outcomes

**Note that in the modified, remote-only version of this workshop we expect to focus on information gathering aspects of the goals & outcomes below. Future activities will address the full scope of our original intent.**

As the paleo collections community wraps up several TCNs we recognize that a significant amount of digitization work remains to be done and that georeferencing is one of the next big roadblocks. Across all collection types, there are major issues with the quality of georeference data currently available on biodiversity data aggregators such as iDigBio and GBIF. For paleo collections, there are additional issues related to applying existing georeferencing workflows in the paleontological context, as well as to sharing georeference data publicly. This workshop will take advantage of the momentum catalyzed by ADBC funding in the paleontological collections community to address critical issues related to georeferencing workflows and georeferencing data quality. We will bring representatives from the paleo TCNs/PENs together with participants representing perspectives external to the existing ADBC community, to:

  • Address the lack and poor quality of specimen georeference data shared on biodiversity aggregators, e.g. the iDigBio Portal, by determining recommendations for the paleo collections community on best practices and workflows for generating and sharing this data.
  • Identify technical barriers to implementing these recommendations and discuss a strategy for communicating them to standards organizations, aggregators, collection management software solutions, and georeferencing software tools.
  • Disseminate the findings of this workshop widely, both within the paleo collections community (including to collectors) and as a resource discoverable by other domains. Findings will include a “toolkit” to share the recommendations on best practices and workflows determined by this workshop.

The organizers hosted two listening sessions in January 2020 to review these goals and plan specific workshop activities. These listening sessions were not restricted to workshop participants. Notes from the listening session have been synthesized here – please feel free to add your own thoughts. Additional community input is also being collected in this document covering challenges, resources, and collection scope.

We will host workshop outcome documents on GitHub via the TDWG Earth Sciences and Paleobiology interest group.


Important links for the virtual workshop!!


Workshop Zoom meetings will be held from 9:00-10:30 AM Salt Lake City time; check your local time here.

April 6 - 17: Information gathering; Record a short video or share protocols, workflows, etc.
April 20 - 27: Review information gathered
April 28 Tuesday
9:00 - 10:30 AM MDT Demo & discussion: What does existing georeference data available on iDigBio/GBIF look like?
April 29 Wednesday
9:00 - 10:30 AM MDT Demo & discussion: Deep dive into DwC and ABCD standards related to georeference data
Action items and format to be determined by participants during sessions on April 28 & 29.

Remote Access

This workshop will be conducted remotely via Zoom and asynchronous recorded content. Participants will receive connection information via email.

Reports and Resources

See here for post-workshop blog!