MaNIS Georeferencing
The Mammal Networked Information System

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A major part of the MaNIS project was the georeferencing of all of the specimen records of the original 17 participating institutions. If you find that specimen records accessible through the MaNIS portals do not have georeferences, this may be due to 1) the institution has not repatriated the georeferences to its collections database, 2) the institution was not one of the original participants who received funding for georeferencing and has not yet had the resources to do so, or 3) the institution has chosen to keep the georeferences for the records of interest out of the public domain. If you have any questions about georeferences, or any other data provided through the MaNIS network, please contact the representatives of the institution. You can find them listed on the MaNIS Portal Data Provider Information page.

Following is a list of documents and tools that are of ongoing value for georeferencing:
Guide to Best Practices for Georeferencing (GBIF publication)
MaNIS/HerpNet/ORNIS Georeferencing Guidelines (theory, examples, references)
Georeferencing Quick Reference Guide (how-to, pdf)
Wieczorek et al., 2004. Point-radius method for georeferencing locality descriptions and calculating associated uncertainty. International Journal of Geographical Information Science 18(8):745-767.
Georef Discussion Archive
Georeferencing Calculator (
Georeferencing Calculator (offline; download and unzip)
Georeferencing Calculator Manual
Manual para el Uso de la Calculadora de Georeferenciacion

The remainder of this page is an archive of the georeferencing infrastructure and practices of the MaNIS Project. The process of georeferencing from the MaNIS Gazetteer followed the Georeferencing Steps document and progress was monitored with the Georef Checklist.

MaNIS gazetteer queries were disabled as of Oct 10, 2005.

The MaNIS Gazetteer is a snapshot of locality data taken from the databases of the collaborating institutions during the summer of 2001. The gazetteer structure (PDF file - use Adobe Acrobat Reader) is an ontology of the combined locality data along with additional tables and attributes for georeferencing. Use this form to begin the process of searching for and downloading localities for georeferencing. This first step allows you to narrow the list of localities to a geographic area of interest. The results, which show after you enter criteria in the various geographic fields and click on the Search button, are all the combinations of higher geography that match your criteria. Fields with drop-down lists show all of the possible values for that attribute. Those attributes with text boxes have too many values to show in a list.

Values in the search fields will be matched regardless of case. If you enter a string of characters in a text box, the query will try to match that string anywhere in the value of the attribute. For example, if you enter "Kansas" in the State/Province field without any other criteria, the results will contain records having "Kansas", "KANSAS", "Arkansas", or "ARKANSAS" in the state attribute.

The Higher Geography attribute consists of a comma-delimited, concatenated string of all of the other geography attributes, in the following order:

Continent/Ocean, Sea, Country, State/Province, County, Quad, Feature, Island Group, Island

The Higher Geography field can be used to match a value no matter in which other attribute it might occur. For example, "Aleutian Islands" occurs in the gazetteer not only in the Island Group attribute, but also in the County attribute. The only way to get both records in one query is to type "Aleutian Islands" in the Higher Geography field.

The Higher Geography field can also be used to distinguish between two geographic divisions, one of which has a character string (e.g., "Arkansas") which contains the entire character string of another (e.g., "Kansas"). To get records from Kansas without getting those from Arkansas, type ", Kansas" in the Higher Geography field. Since Higher Geography has commas between the values of the different geopolitical divisions, ", Kansas" will find "Kansas" without finding "Arkansas." Similarly, ", California" will find "California" without finding "Baja California."

Below is the list of the fields used to describe high-level geography in the MaNIS gazetteer. The names used here do not match the attribute names used by every institution, nor does every institution necessarily have an attribute for each of these geopolitical divisions. Each attribute name is a link to a list of distinct values for that attribute from among the combined data. For particularly long lists, the size of the page is shown next to the link for the attribute. Use these lists to browse the values which exist for these attributes and to see how many localities are associated with each value. This will help you to determine which values to enter in the search fields in the form above.

Higher Geography Attributes used in the MaNIS Gazetteer

State/Province (775k)
County (1544k)
Island Group
Island (341k)

Home | Data Portals | Documents | Events | Contacts | Georeferencing | Join MaNIS
John Wieczorek, 29 Oct 2001
Rev. 1 Oct 2016, JRW
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, Copyright © 2001-2016, The Regents of the University of California.