Monday, May 5, 2008

We're living in a georeferenced world

In an editorial in its current issue (1 May 2008), Nature calls for georeferencing of research data. Guessing locations from place-names can only be a workaround. With GPS technology at hand it should be so easy to record the time and the place where a sample or specimen was taken.

"Gene sequence and structure databases have flourished in part because journals require authors to submit published data to them. It is worth considering a similar requirement that all samples in a published study be registered, along with GPS coordinates, in online databases such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. At the same time, it would behove spatial scientists to articulate to the broader research community the potential of recording and making accessible spatial data in the appropriate formats — and the painlessness of the process."

Hopefully, scientists will listen to Nature.

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