Georgia Rare Species and Natural Community Data
Providing us with rare element data electronically
Providing rare taxa element occurrence (EO) data in a spreadsheet, database table or KML file can greatly speed up our work in converting it to an EO record (EOR) and getting it into our database. Electronic submission of data is especially helpful for large data sets. Electronic data submission eliminates the need to submit hard copies of the special concern animal observation/collection data sheet.
We have provided an example Excel spreadsheet, "Electronic Data Request Example.xls", that may be used for electronic submission of EO data. However, this spreadsheet is only a guide and collectors/observers may modify or add new fields as it suits their own needs (as long as we can tell what information is being conveyed). We have also produced a rather detailed spreadsheet for submitting natural community data. This spreadsheet can be adapted for animal and plant EOs by eliminating the community columns, colored green.
The number-one thing to watch out for is to make sure that when the data is entered it strictly adheres to a consistent format. This is especially true for the date, scientific name, latitude and longitude field columns. You can use the data format of your choice for data entry, but when we convert the data into a format that will go into our database, consistency in data entry greatly simplifies the process. Examples of often encountered inconsistencies include latitude and longitude in differing formats such as digital degrees "e.g.: Lat 32.2354" and degrees minutes seconds "e.g.: Lat 32 27 13" in different rows in the same column. Another common problem involves the use of DATUM. All latitude and longitude values should be entered with the same datum, either NAD27 or NAD83 but not mixed in the same data set.
Remember that UTM is not a projection by itself; it is a class of projections, and without specifying the zone, datum and map units, a unique projection is not defined. If you will be submitting your data in UTM coordinates please use only one zone, datum and map units for all records. Mixing two different projections such as UTM Zone 16 NAD83 and UTM Zone 17 NAD83 data in the same dataset complicates the conversion process and leads to errors.
To help reduce latitude and longitude inconsistency problems it is highly recommended that some kind of map be provided which shows the location of each new EOR. A GIS layer that the provider has prepared would also be fine as this layer can be easily checked for DATUM or other projection problems by the provider before it is sent to us and then again by us when we get it from them. If maps or shape files cannot be provided, please make sure that accurate and specific locality information is included in the directions from known landmark field so that we can verify locations.
With dates, the preferred format to use is year, month, day such as "2004-06-13" for June 13, 2004, but any consistently used format can be readily converted during the import process.
Sometimes users are confused about what constitutes an EO. EOs are usually places where organisms have been found occurring naturally or that are essential for the continuation of a viable population of a taxon. For example, with animals this could include breeding, nesting or feeding areas. EOs are usually NOT places where organisms are found accidentally.
Introduced populations are a special case and need to be indicated in data provided with the occurence.
Many data providers have data (or wish to gather data) that represents collections or locations of individual organisms. Though these usually do not constitute an EO according to our strict definition, the data is just as valuable to us as we can convert it to the format we need. If the data provider would like to adhere more strictly to our data standards, including EO specifications or field/column definitions, they are available upon request.
If this is the first time you have submitted data and you are ready to send us your data please contact Katrina Morris, Greg Krakow or Brett Albanese on how to proceed. Our email addresses and other contact information can be found in the NatureServe Network Staff Directory.
We are also eager for your feedback on GNHPs electronic data submission protocol. Thanks!
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