Occurrence data: better to have it and be (slightly) wrong?

Incorrect ID? New info to be added, taxonomic revisions and any kind of changes to the data we currently hold in here please!
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Re: Occurrence data: better to have it and be (slightly) wrong?

Post by MatsP »

Ok, I'm skipping over MOST of the discussion, and commenting on a few of Eric's comments...
If the waterway was originally entered with a specific Lat/Long coordinate corresponding to a specific collection locality for once species, then that pin is more important than just "midway" along the river - it is the actual location of the fish. Now imagine that tomorrow I want to add an occurrence for a different species along the same waterway, but this fish is not from the same Lat/Long coordinates
This should not be the way that coordinates are used for bodies of water. The marker should be in the middle of a body of water, not where the first species found in that river was caught.
Mats, you mentioned the idea of subdividing bodies of water. I think this is a good idea when a body of water can be subdivided into smaller segments, each with its own distinct textual name.
The idea here was rather to have specific named region, e.g. "Cachioera do Belo Monte" as part of Lower Xingu. - Ideally we'd then also have "Lower Xingu above Cachioera do Belo Monte", etc - as well as Lower Xingu to represent fishes that occur everywhere in the river.

However, the point is still that we're not intended to precisely recording capture localities, but a general rough idea of the distribution of the fish.

It wouldn't be very hard, in my view, to add another database table, where we could record actual locations where fish has been captured in lat/long - it would take a little bit of programming to add this feature.

The real work is to add the data, I think we can do it automatically, although I couldn't quite figure out how to get the occurrences for a particular species in the GBIF database above - and of course, automatically importing data has it's own problems. Take this example: http://www.gbif.org/species/5961451 (Ancisturs dolichopterus). Which looks fine, except for the ONE point way south of all the others, which I'm pretty sure isn't a correct identification.

Whether we do this automatically or manually, we probably want to do some sort of manual override, such that we can "hide" or "delete" data that we think is incorrect. And I think we should have a script that fetches and parses the data from GBIF rather than fetch on demand, as this will allow us to control the data better - most importanly by adding our own data without having to wait for someone to add it to the GBIF dataset first.

It's trivial to mark these with a different marker than the "big dot" and "star" that we have so far - we probably should have a foot, ehm, legend to explain what the different symbols actually represent.

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Re: Occurrence data: better to have it and be (slightly) wrong?

Post by bekateen »

MatsP wrote:This should not be the way that coordinates are used for bodies of water. The marker should be in the middle of a body of water, not where the first species found in that river was caught...

However, the point is still that we're not intended to precisely recording capture localities, but a general rough idea of the distribution of the fish.
Yes, and this is part of my motivation. As I said before, I was unaware of the logic underlying the placement of pins along waterway, and I will certainly follow the "middle of the body of water" principle in the future. I don't want to confound bodies of water with actual specific localities. But I'd also like to add specific localities to better reflect the ranges of species. Overlaying GBIF data certainly goes most of the way in this regard, but when admins here are aware of additional specific localities, it would be nice to be able to add them as pins, without confounding the pins associated with general bodies of water.
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Re: Occurrence data: better to have it and be (slightly) wrong?

Post by MatsP »

Yes, so I would absolutely make those pins different in some way - maybe a + instead of * or dot in the marker - perhaps even a special one for "our own data".

And I think the idea of importing those markers rather than asking GBIF for each one - if nothing else because I think it'll be much faster doing it our way - it's slow enough as it is when you view the map of Loricariidae or something.

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Re: Occurrence data: better to have it and be (slightly) wrong?

Post by bekateen »

Perhaps this is slightly askew of the OP, but it is still relevant to naming bodies of water on more precise scales: If one name applies to two separate bodies of water in different geographic areas, and the two bodies of water do not connect, what (in your opinion) is the best way to name these?

Using a specific example, today I added the Rio Paru in Venezuela as a new body of water (with the Ventuari as its parent). But "Paru" already exists in the Bodies of Water database, in reference to the Paru in Brazil (which has the Lower Amazon River as its parent). AFAIK and as far as I could trace on maps, these two Parus do not connect with each other and are not related, so I named the new entry "Paru (Venezuela)." Is that okay? Would you prefer that I name it simply "Paru?" Or is there a third option to use?

On one hand, the new entry is already identified in Venezuela because of the "Political Area" designation; so with that, perhaps adding the word "Venezuela" to the name of the body is redundant and thus unnecessary. However, it seems to me that if I were simply to name it "Paru," that would create potential confusion for future admins if there are multiple entries with the exact same name. Yes, obviously with careful attention to the "Parent" and "Political Area" of each entry, mistakes should be avoided; but it would seem to create just one more opportunity for mistakes. So what is your preference?

Thanks, Eric
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Re: Occurrence data: better to have it and be (slightly) wrong?

Post by MatsP »

Paru (Venezuela) or Paru (Ventuari) would be the pattern used previously.

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Re: Occurrence data: better to have it and be (slightly) wrong?

Post by bekateen »

So Paru (Venezuela) is okay. Then I'll leave its name as is. Thanks.

Cheers, Eric
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