As part of an NSF TCN grant, georeferencing Cretaceous Molluscan localities, capturing associated specimen data, and imaging specimens of the Western Interior Seaway began in the Fall of 2016 (Digitization TCN: Collaborative Research: Cretaceous World: Digitizing Fossils to Reconstruct Evolving Ecosystems in WIS, NSF Award 1601891). The digitization project was completed May, 2019. A collection of 12,127 lots (80,000 specimens) of Cretaceous Mollusca from 644 localities was catalogued and imaged, and compiled data was submitted to aggregators iDigBio and GBIF. These data were used to facilitate the development of a WebApp (presented at GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, 2018) to enhance research in macroevolutionary studies in a GIS framework by making the data accessible and discoverable. Specifically, georeferencing information for 500 localities was compiled from about 10,000 museum lots using several programs, chiefly GEOlocate, Google Maps, and Google Earth while following the MaNIS/HerpNet/ORNIS georeferencing guidelines. TRS data were treated in GEOLocate, and when this approach did not work, we geocoded in a GIS framework. Once the locality information was converted to lat/long coordinates, a table of 10,000 rows and tens of attributes of different kinds was assembled, which underwent a series of automated and manual data-cleansing procedures. As a result, two related tables were produced: the localities and the specimens.
This presentation shows the resulting locality and specimen tables after they were transferred to a GIS system and includes a digital map in an enhanced Maps Portal Application (WebApp) as well as other digital maps, texts, and photos as part of a Story Map. While the standard WebApp uses filtering and querying tools on the primary attributes of the specimens and provides a choice of options for data retrieval, the web application Story Map allows less experienced GIS users to view selected data as a “story” that is presented as a series of maps and accompanying texts and photos. The story map includes preset simple GIS tools and preset buttons that allow the user to change the display without leaving the main story stream.
Continuing efforts are being made to standardize and increase the completeness/validity of existing data to improve accessibility and refine searches of paleontologic data for use in paleoceanographic/paleoclimate models as well as to enhance user options of the WebApp and of the Story Maps.