What do you dou when the verbatimCoordinates are incorrect and there are no decimal coordinates?

Hi everyone,

We had a resource with original coordinates that were incorrect, they were outside of Colombia and it was a clear mistake, so the thing that we made in those cases is delete the decimal coordinates and kept the original coordinates in the verbatimLatitude and verbatimLongitude.
However, we realized that GBIF still interpreted those two fields and plotted the incorrect coordinates with a flag Country coordinate mismatch, as you can see here Occurrence Detail 2294394411.

So we should like to know how different data providers deals with this kind of problem, maybe keeping the whole coordinates in verbatimCoordinates field (we are not sure if GBIF still interpreted that field), or maybe with a comment in georeferenceRemarks saying that the original coordinates are a mistake.

This is an important issue for us, because when we discover incorrect coordinates, we always put them in verbatimCoordinates and delete the decimal fields, we use the decimal in our analysis and not the verbatim. But if GBIF portal always made the transformation, our job is not as useful as it can be for other end users.

We also like to know if there is a way to stop GBIF portal to interpreted wrong coordinates, maybe if the coordinate has a flag, the best option is do not interpreted them.

Thanks in advance for your time and have a good day,

Hi Esteban,

When verbatim coordinates are given but no decimal lat/long version is available, the GBIF interpretation does indeed attempt to convert the verbatim values. This is based on the assumption that verbatim coordinates can come in a variety of formats, that are each technically correct, just not decimal. There is no mechanism to intercept coordinates that are provided, but flagged as “known incorrect” - the transfer schema (Darwin Core) does not cater for this case. At GBIF.org, coordinates that are spotted as having issues during interpretation (like the country/coordinate mismatch) are then flagged centrally, and by default excluded from map display. The flag is also available in downloaded data, but the interpreted (wrong) information still remains available.

To fully exclude coordinates that are, already at source, known to be incorrect, we would recommend to handle this at the mapping stage (source dataset to DwC-A transfer schema generation). Assuming that the intention is to not publish known incorrect coordinates at all, the verbatim data fields could either be removed from the IPT mapping altogether, or the source data be filtered in a view that excludes the questionable records from being published through the IPT’s “verbatim” values. This way, the information is still maintained in the local database, while the published version relies on decimalLatitude and decimalLongitude values alone.

Does this cover what you are asking about?

My opinion is that it may be important for users to know every information available in specimen labels. Even if we are sure or suspect it may be incorrect.

For example, a specimen with wrong coordinates which is duplicated in different datasets.
Let’s say one provider detects the error and removes the information, but the other doesn’t.
Then GBIF will always show the species present, but no clue about the error detected by one of the providers.

If one dataset shows the specimen coordinates flagged as “doubtful”, “incorrect” or whatever, then users will have an opportunity to know it, and decide whether they want to (un)trust possible duplicate specimens which might also have incorrect coordinates.

So, is there a way to “obfuscate” the verbatim coordinates so they are still human-readable, but we can stop GBIF from interpreting and convert them to lat/lon?
In that case, we could do that and put a informative flag before/after the verbatim coordinates (or in any other DwC concept)

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