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Open Access Geospatial Informatics Key to Recovering and Sharing Historical Ecological Data for Modern Use

Many scientific disciplines need to locate, digitize, and integrate the collections of historical ecological data that often remain hidden in paper archives. Synthesizing historical and contemporary ecological data with ecosystem models can help researchers understand how species, communities, and landscapes are changing across space and time. Since these data are often stored in multiple collections and in various formats, data integration can be challenging. This paper presents a case study of the digitization of a large historical vegetation survey, i.e., the Wieslander Vegetation Type Mapping (VTM) project in California which highlights the importance of recovering and sharing such datasets. The protocol developed to digitize, georeference, visualize, and share these data is founded in geospatial concepts, and the VTM project showcases the increasingly important role of geospatial experts in the fields of ecology, history, and other sciences. These methods are flexible, transferable and broadly applicable to other fields.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: November 1, 2017

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  • The official journal of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - the Imaging and Geospatial Information Society (ASPRS). This highly respected publication covers all facets of photogrammetry and remote sensing methods and technologies.

    Founded in 1934, the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) is a scientific association serving over 7,000 professional members around the world. Our mission is to advance knowledge and improve understanding of mapping sciences to promote the responsible applications of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and supporting technologies.
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