[APG Public List] [APG Members] citing coordinates (was place names)
laboswell at rogers.com
Thu Oct 28 07:44:05 MDT 2010
These are excellent. I think the coordinates themselves have to be
justified by using the same techniques used in other areas of genealogical
research. So I can see the coordinates themselves being cited separately.
Where did the coordinates come from? What evidence or facts justify
attaching a particular name to a particular set of coordinates? And so on.
So would the coordinates be cited say to having been sourced from a
particular map. Or use of a gps at the actual spot being given the
coordinates in the field? Or from a text description that then was
interpreted using a historical overlay or map? Or all of the above if
applicable, but separately cited?
I like your analogy to photos though. GPS is really taking a 'snapshot' of
coordinates in a field. That's a nice creative way to get at it
----- Original Message -----
From: Terry Reigel
To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:04 AM
Subject: Re: [APG Public List] [APG Members] place names
> Thanks for all your input on this subject. It's been a
> very informative discussion. Would you like to suggest
> the kind of citation that might be useful, going forward
> into the unknown, based on the variables that have been
For the moment I'll stop short of specifics but will offer some thoughts
that might guide how a citation might be constructed. I see three separate
1. Describing the source of the coordinates itself. In my experience,
there are at least three distinct ways that coordinates are obtained:
- By a database search. One can search on an online mapping site, like
Google Maps, for a specific place and if it is identified the coordinates
can be obtained. Other types of websites list places, sometimes with their
coordinates. I think you can do the same with various computer programs.
There may be books that do so as well, though I've not found them. It seems
to me that citing such websites or books is well covered by existing models.
It seems to me rather like citing any other bit of data found in such a
- By locating a place on a map. One can use an online mapping site, a
mapping program, or even a physical map, to locate a place, then obtain the
coordinates. This method requires describing the source as above, but also
introduces the issue of the user having identified the location. Unless one
is dealing with a point named on the map, shouldn't the citation say
something about how one determined that the specific spot was the right one?
- By going to the place and using a GPS device to determine the
coordinates. This seems to me rather like taking a photo of something. One
should describe who gathered the data, and perhaps, if not clear, how that
person determined that this was the correct location. It is not clear to me
that the details of the device used are important, any more than one would
record what type of camera was used. For very small points, like a specific
tombstone, the precision of the device might be relevant. But for anything
larger it is not.
2. Describing what was located. This is a point addressed previously in
this thread. For relatively small "places," like tombstones or buildings,
this is not an issue. But for larger places, such as towns or counties, it
seems to me important to include in the citation a mention of what was
located - the post office, center of town, or whatever.
3. The practical aspects of citing coordinates. While not necessarily
relevant to the citation templates, the question remains about how to attach
the citation to the coordinates. One can attach the citation to the
appropriate part of the text in hand-written documents. But genealogy
programs seem to differ in their treatment of coordinates, and someone here
reported that at least one doesn't allow attaching citations to the
coordinate field. Other programs make the coordinates part of the larger
place definition, requiring that the citation note mention that it relates
to the coordinates, and not to the rest of the place description.
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