Locality and Locality Plugins

Locality Form

The Locality form allows the user to enter the latitude and longitude information within the Coordinates section of the form.

The only characters that are allowed in the input field for coordinate fields are:

  • A whitespace character (tab, space)
  • A digit
  • Any of the following: "'-.:ensw° (case-insensitive)

When a lat/long is entered the format is captured and displayed in the (Source) field. This field remains constant when formats are changed, but if the lat/long numbers are changed then the (Source) field will update to the new lat/long entry.

Note: Specify does not track versions of the latitude and longitude and does not keep a verbatim field. You can add verbatimLongitude and verbatimLongitude to the form if you would like to store this information!

Latitude1 and Longitude1 are Decimal fields, automatically filled in after data is entered into the form or uploaded through the WorkBench. The data presented on the form and entered into the database are stored in the Lat1Text and Long1Text as a String.

Other data on the Locality form include a Geo Referencing Determination By and Date. These are for documenting how and when a georeference for the Locality occurred.

Locality Plugins


The GEOLocate project has created software and services for translating textual locality descriptions associated with biodiversity collections data into geographic coordinates. It uses a description of a Locality and geography fields, such as County, State and Country, to find Latitude and Longitude coordinate values. This is referred to as georeferencing. The Specify and GEOLocate teams have collaborated to create a GEOLocate module inside Specify.

For Georeferencing United States localities:

Column Data Needed
Locality Name Yes
Country Yes
State Yes
County No, but will improve results(Required when searching waterbody and highway crossings)
Latitude1 No (this is the results column)
Longitude1 No (this is the results column)

For Georeferencing localities outside of the United States:

Column Data Needed
Locality Name Yes
Country Yes
Child Node of Country No, but will improve results
Latitude1 No (this is the results column)
Longitude1 No (this is the results column)

GEOLocate will show you any possible locations it can find based on the information in your columns. You can zoom, scroll, and navigate the GEOLocate web application within Specify. You can edit the uncertainty, add pins, and draw polygons.

You can view and modify the locality, country, state, and county from the GEOLocate window. Click Georeference to search the modified query.

Boolean fields in GEOLocate

Placing a marker will change your point’s latitude and longitude and move the uncertainty radius around with it.

The green selected marker is the value for the most accurate result. This will be saved when you save this to your application.

Measuring allows you to click anywhere on the map, move your mouse to measure a distance, and double click to finish the measurement. It will display in kilometers and miles.

This text box shows the Lat1, Long1, Uncertainty radius in meters, and the coordinates of your polygon’s points.

Draw a polygon by clicking on map for each point in your polygon. Once you are finished creating it, double click the mouse. You can clear your polygon to draw a new one.

You can save the information created on GEOLocate to Specify if you have the correct columns in your Data Set. The information will be fed directly to the WorkBench once you click the button at the bottom of the window.

Under the Workbench tab in GEOLocate’s interface, you can click to configure the georeferencing options.

Georeferencing Options

• Match Water Body - When enabled, GEOLocate will search the locality string for bridge crossing information and attempt to pinpoint the locality at the intersection of the river and highway. This feature only works for U.S. localities and requires county data.

Detect Hwy/River Crossing - When enabled, GEOLocate will search the locality string for the names of rivers and streams. If one is found, GEOLocate will snap the calculated points to the nearest point on the waterbody. This feature only works for U.S. localities and requires county data.

Do Uncertainty - When enabled GEOLocate will calculate and return the uncertainty radius if one exists.

Do Error Polygon - When enabled GEOLocate will calculate and return the error polygon.

Displace Polygon - When enabled GEOLocate will use any distance value referred to in the Locality Description to displace the GEOLocate Error Polygon value (if one exists). If 10 miles North of Lawrence is in the Locality Description, but the Error Polygon in GEOLocate is a 30-mile radius around the center of Lawrence, GEOLocate will move the 30-mile radius 10 miles North of the center of Lawrence.

Restrict to Lowest Adm. Unit - When enabled limits results found by GEOLocate to points within the lowest administrative unit in the locality description.

Language - Tells GEOLocate what language to use for the Locality interpretation.

GEOLocate Definitions

  • Position represents the Latitude and Longitude of the GEOLocate result, visually depicted on the map as a green marker. These results can be edited.
  • Markers represents the Latitude and Longitude of a GEOLocate point, visually depicted on the map as a red marker. These will be become a green marker if it is the selected position.
  • Uncertainty Radius represents the error due to the uncertainty of the locality information provided. It is shown as a grey circle around the green point marker on the map. The Uncertainty Radius can also be edited.
  • Latitude represents the latitude to the hundredth degree.
  • Longitude represents the longitude to the hundredth degree.
  • Pattern, or pattern identifier, is a text description of the pattern or keyword used to determine a GEOLocate result. Single locality strings often include multiple patterns, producing multiple GEOLocate results.
  • Precision is an indication of the quality of locality information. Each GEOLocate result is given a score between 0 and 100 which represents the probability of it being a match. That score is then placed within a ‘low’, ‘medium’ and ‘high’ ranking to indicate precision. Results are then ordered according to their probability number, which allows results within the same rank to include the most accurate matches first.
  • Error Polygon is a polygon which encompasses the entire area of uncertainty.
  • Uncertainty represents the error due to the uncertainty of the locality information provided.

Specify uses the embedded client from GEOLocate. For more documentation, visit their website https://www.geo-locate.org/.
All Specify interactions are managed by the Specify Software.


GeoMap plots all the points in your selection on the map. It uses OpenStreetMap, ESRI, Géoportail, USGS, and NASA maps to give a multitude of viewing options.

Icon Use
Toggle the full screen view
Zoom in and out on the map
Change the map type as well as enable or disable labels, boundaries, pins, polygons, polygon boundaries, and error radiuses
Click to view all details about the pin
When full screen view is enabled, this allows the user to print the current map view, including pin details if activated