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Re: [Aroid-l] Exact locations of plants

  • Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Exact locations of plants
  • From: Ron Kaufmann kaufmann@sandiego.edu
  • Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 08:42:49 -0700

Hi Brian et al.,

Is geocaching the game you're talking about? There's been a lot of discussion in the plant community about the use and abuse of GPS coordinates that are collected in the vicinity of plants, especially rare and desirable ones. The main benefit seems to be that a botanist can know exactly where a plant or plant population is located, which can be invaluable for determining species identity, relationships among closely related species, community characteristics, etc. Basically, good geographical information can be very important in doing good science.

The concern comes from the publishing of those coordinates, which (theoretically) allows anyone with a decent GPS unit to find the location of a particular plant or plant population and collect what they find. I'm sure we've all heard stories about collectors stripping desirable plants from their native habitat, and GPS technology facilitates this kind of behavior to an unprecedented degree. This problem may not be as relevant to aroids as to other groups that have the potential for greater economic return (cacti, orchids, etc.), but it's still an important consideration.


Brian Williams wrote:

I thought many of the botanist and others might be interested in this. I am not sure if this is something already in use? I have not seen anything on it personally being used in plant research. A few friends of mine play a game over the internet. It is basically a scavenger hunt using global positioning systems. This handheld device can get a person with in feet to were the treasure is hidden. I was fairly amazed by this and was wondering if anyone was recording plant positioning when collecting? The devices usually run from 150.00 dollars and up. My friends use fairly cheep ones and they tend to work well. Another thing they use is a very interesting map called google Earth. This is a map made up of satellite photos of the earth you can put in your Global positioning systems cordenance and it will show you a picture of the area with in a few feet in some cases you can see the cars and people in the photos. I would think both of these could be extremely useful to someone collecting plants and it would be interesting to add in the cordenance of a plant and get a image of exactly were it grows. So is anyone using this in the field?

Here are some links to google earth and GPS devices.



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