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January 14, 2010

Formatting the Gazetteer

Among the list of fundamental resources that must be worked into shape prior to being placed on a new website is the list of research sites studied by Biological Station researchers. The list was compiled by our Resident Biologist and is closely tied to the Biological Station bibliography.

Here is a list of steps that need to be taken:

- Deal with synonyms

Many of the gaz sites are referred to with different names (synonyms) in the Biological Station publications. An extra column (or field) will be used for synonyms allowing for duplicate rows to be removed. field can be added

- Synchronize the gaz with the USGS Geographic Names Information System list. The GNIS appears to be the authoritative list of places for the United States.

The GNIS database for Michigan is available in two places. Getting it directly from the USGS yields a text file with 51060 rows (i.e., places.) The datum is NAD 83. To set this in ArcGIS: ArcCatalog > Define Projection Tool > Coordinate System > Geographic Coordinate Systems > North America > North American Datum 1983.prj.

The GNIS for Michigan is also available at the Michigan Geographic Data Library however, I do not recommend this version because the shape file appears to list only 32022 places. The coordinate system is NAD 1983 Michigan GeoRef (Meters) although the metadata on the MiGDL does not explicitly tell you this. In ArcGIS it is under Projected Coordinate Systems > State Systems > NAD 1983 Michigan GeoRef (Meters).prj.


Any changes to the gaz as it currently stands will require updates to the bibliography so the naming schemes are consistent.

More steps are undoubtedly needed but I think my brain needs to stew on it before the most efficient path comes to mind.

Posted by kkwaiser at January 14, 2010 03:44 PM

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