CoordinateCleaner : Standardized cleaning of occurrence records from biological collection databases
Methods in Ecology and Evolution
1. Species occurrence records from online databases are an indispensable resource in ecological, biogeographical and palaeontological research. However, issues with data quality, especially incorrect geo-referencing or dating, can diminish their usefulness. Manual cleaning is time-consuming, error prone, difficult to reproduce and limited to known geographical areas and taxonomic groups, making it impractical for datasets with thousands or millions of records. 2. Here, we present
... er, an r-package to scan datasets of species occurrence records for geo-referencing and dating imprecisions and data entry errors in a standardized and reproducible way. CoordinateCleaner is tailored to problems common in biological and palaeontological databases and can handle datasets with millions of records. The software includes (a) functions to flag potentially problematic coordinate records based on geographical gazetteers, (b) a global database of 9,691 geo-referenced biodiversity institutions to identify records that are likely from horticulture or captivity, (c) novel algorithms to identify datasets with rasterized data, conversion errors and strong decimal rounding and (d) spatio-temporal tests for fossils. 3. We describe the individual functions available in CoordinateCleaner and demonstrate them on more than 90 million occurrences of flowering plants from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and 19,000 fossil occurrences from the Palaeobiology Database (PBDB). We find that in GBIF more than 3.4 million records (3.7%) are potentially problematic and that 179 of the tested contributing This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.