Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM
PTEROTERRA: A PTEROSAUR DATABASE WEB APPLICATION THAT INTERFACES WITH GOOGLE EARTH
Recently, paleontologists have begun to use internet databases to document taxa, character matrices, and fossils in collections. The newly developed web application PteroTerra, implemented using the Ruby on Rails web framework, is a specimen-based pterosaur database that interfaces with Google Earth. Information about each pterosaur specimen in the application includes characteristics such as taxon name, classification, geologic age, geographic location of discovery, geologic formation, rock type, paleoenvironment, articulation, presence of soft tissue, wingspan, proposed diet, and housing museum. The application allows users to search for specimens based on keywords and allows users to create groups of pterosaurs based on shared characteristics. These groups can then be downloaded as a .kml file which can be automatically uploaded into Google Earth in order to study geographic trends of pterosaur fossil specimens based on any criteria of interest. PteroTerra provides pterosaur researchers with new ways to search for global trends of pterosaur fossils. The principles behind this program can easily be expanded to encompass other fields of study.