GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 105-13
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM


MOLINEUX, Ann1, URBAN, Tomislav2, APPLETON, Liath E.1, WILLIAMS, Timothy J.1 and GENTLE Jr., John2, (1)Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, J.J.Pickle Research Campus, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758, (2)Texas Advanced Computing Center, The University of Texas at Austin, Research Office Complex, Bldg 196, J.J.Pickle Research Campus, 10100 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78758-4497,

Georeferencing of localities is part of the digitization process for natural history collections. This effort covers both modern and geological specimens, and paves the way to potential deep time visualizations. Localities in modern geography are easily mapped using resources such as Google Earth© and digital topographic maps; add the time dimension, and the resources are more limited.

We have developed an open-source paleo location mapping service, to provide that resource. A web service call is made by entering three parameters: age of the rock or fossil of interest, the latitude, and the longitude of its modern map location. The web service then returns a URL pointing to its location on the modern map and creates a second map indicating the location of the site where it would have been during the age entered. The response from is based on reconstructions from the PLATES project of The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. These reconstructions contain both the base map as well as the data required to perform the Euler rotations of the requested point on the modern globe to its location on the requested reconstruction. The specimen is mapped in deep geologic time.

This mapping ability is integrated into The original allows us to query a static database of type specimens and plot onto a Google Earth© environment. The update version queries the complete Specify 6 database, provides a Google Earth© view, a geology map view, or a reconstruction of plates in deep time. The current geographical coordinates are stored within the database and link to objects collected from that site. The rotated coordinates are not stored. A collecting event concept is used to connect the deep time chrono-, litho-, or biostratigraphy for that particular event. The same geographic point can have multiple geological contexts. This is especially valuable for sections, cores, and core-sourced microfossils.