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Examples of Good and Bad Localities

MVZ Handbook > Recording Localities in the Field
Vague Localities
These are localities that give a large area without more specific detail.
BAD: Sacramento River Delta - an extremely large geographic area
BETTER: Locke, Sacramento River Delta, Sacramento Co., California - names a town within the Delta
BAD: 3 mi W of San Jose/Cartago border - without additional details, this would mean anywhere 3 mi W of the border
GOOD: 3 mi W of San Jose/Cartago border on Highway 2, San Jose Province, Costa Rica
BAD: Pond along Chattahoochee River, Fulton Co., Georgia – there are millions of ponds along the Chattahoochee River
GOOD: Pond, 0.43 mi SW of intersection of Nancy and Ridgewood Roads, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Fulton Co., Georgia
Names of Roads without additional points of reference
BAD: Highway 9, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica
GOOD: Intersection of Hwy 9 and Rio Cariblanco, Cariblanco (town), Alajuela Province, Costa Rica
Directions given with no distances, road or air miles noted:
BAD: S Berkeley, Alameda County, California
GOOD: Oakland, 1 mi S Berkeley on Telegraph Ave. (1 mi S of intersection of 66th St and Telegraph Ave), Alameda Co., California
Localities that are difficult to Georeference
For many countries, especially Spanish-speaking ones, there are oftentimes several cities with the same name in the same province.
BAD: San Marcos, Intibuca Province, Honduras - There are at least five San Marcos in Intibuca Province
BETTER: San Marcos, ca 7.5 km south of Los Chaguites, Intibuca Province, Honduras
If there is both a city and a geographic feature that share the same name, then note which locality (city, mountain, creek, lake) you meant.
BAD: Battle Mountain, Lander Co., Nevada
BETTER: Battle Mountain (city), Lander Co., Nevada
Highway mi/km markers are very difficult to georeference retrospectively unless additional information is given.
BAD: Km 58 Pan American Highway
GOOD:Km 58 Pan American Highway, 6 km S of Cartago on Pan American Highway, Cartago Province, Costa Rica
Things to watch out for
  • Crossing County/State/Country lines while collecting - make sure to use the correct names and specify clearly if using a town in a different county/state for an offset, e.g., 10 mi below Ehrenberg (La Paz Co, Arizona) on the Colorado River, Imperial Co, California
  • Spelling of Foreign Localities - while a misplaced letter in a familiar name is easily corrected, for example "Berkely" instead of "Berkeley," a misspelling in any other language can cause confusion. e.g. Turrubares instead of Turrucares, Barra Blanca instead of Vara Blanca
  • Due to the nature of the georeferencing guidelines, localities that are simply given as a city name are georeferenced as the center of the city. If the specimen is collected on the outskirts of the city, then it must be noted as such. Specifying an exact intersection is best.

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