Georeferencing in GEOLocate CoGe

This course was originally developed by Katie Pearson for the California Phenology Thematic Collections Network (CAP TCN) funded by the National Science Foundation. The course is provided below with only minor changes from the original at

The purpose of this course is to provide a modular learning resource for georeferencing in the GEOLocate Collaborative Georeferencing client. Each module consists of learning objectives, a training video, and a quick quiz.

The original CAP TCN protocol is available for download as a companion document to this course:

This georeferencing course consists of three modules: Module 1, Module 4, and Module 5. There is no module 2 or 3 because they describe how to use the Symbiota portal for georeferencing, which is different than GEOLocate CoGe.

Module 1: What is georeferencing?

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this module, you should be able to:

  • Understand the basic practice of georeferencing and why it is important
  • Define the terms: occurrence, locality, uncertainty/error, geodetic datum
  • Identify different types of coordinate systems you may encounter when georeferencing U.S. specimen records, including decimal degrees; degrees, minutes, seconds; UTMs; and township, range, section.

Module 4: The point-radius method for georeferencing

​​Upon completion of this module, you should be able to:

  • Use GeoLocate to assign latitude and longitude coordinates to a textual locality description using the standard point-radius protocol
  • Assign a reasonable error radius to a georeferenced point using the standard point-radius protocol
  • Evaluate whether a specimen’s location is too imprecise to accurately georeference
  • Document any assumptions or estimations made when georeferencing in the Georeference Remarks field

Module 5: Georeferencing in GEOLocate CoGe

Learning objectives

​Upon completion of this module, you should be able to:

  • Create an access an account in the GEOLocate Collaborative Georeferencing client
  • Place points, adjust error radii, measure distances, create error polygons, and change the base map layer in GEOLocate CoGe
  • ​Add georeferencing comments to a specimen that you georeferenced or were not able to georeference
  • Use the History tab to import coordinates from a previously georeferenced specimen into your workbench