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  Exact locations of plants
From: Brian Williams pugturd at alltel.net> on 2006.09.26 at 05:04:08(14650)
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.

http://earth.google.com/

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From: Steve Marak samarak at gizmoworks.com> on 2006.09.26 at 08:30:50(14651)
Brian, I'm sure you'll get lots of replies on this topic, I'll start things off
with my $0.02 worth - these GPS units are GREAT! We have 2, in fact, one for my
wife's car and one for mine. We aren't geocachers (I think the name for that
game is geocaching) but we've been using them to note locations of plants and
anything else interesting for years and it works very well. You get altitude
information, too.

Cathy happens to teach a high school class in which they use very expensive
industrial GPS units, the type surveyors use, and apply corrections from ground
based stations to get the accuracy down to inches. But the $150 units we have
in our cars are just as good for what we do, especially since Bill Clinton
turned off "selective availability" back in 2000. We typically see accuracy of
about 10-15 meters (and we're not applying any corrections, of course).

The technology has been around a while, and I know botanic gardens and other
institutions have been using it, but I'm always surprised that among people I
meet it seems to be the fishing, flying, or serious hiking enthusiasts that use
GPS rather than the plant people. (People can be in more than one of those
groups, but usually aren't.) Of course, it's so cheap it's showing up in cell
phones now, so lots more people will be using it whether they know it or not.

The newer hand-held units have lots more features and far better battery life -
our older unit (7-8 years old) runs for a few hours - maybe 4 if you're lucky -
on 4 AA batteries. The new one (2 years old) runs for around 20 hours on 2 AA
batteries.

Steve

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From: "Bryant, Susan L." SLBryant at scj.com> on 2006.09.26 at 08:38:19(14652)
They aren't exactly plant collectors, but I know farmers are using them
now when plowing their fields to keep the rows straight (I'm assuming
these are very, very big fields)
Susan

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From: Ron Kaufmann kaufmann at sandiego.edu> on 2006.09.26 at 08:42:49(14653)
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.

Ron

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From: a san juan kalim1998 at yahoo.com> on 2006.09.26 at 12:44:46(14656)
Forgot URL:http://www.blueboard.com/nfu/survey_rio_grande_texas.htma san juan wrote: I am currently testing this software for a friend (it is in testing phase):http://www.rimlife.com/products/dustynotes/It allows one to record plant data on mobile devices, then either:1. upload data to google maps (so people can view where you collected and what)2. email the data toy yourself or others as CSV or other file format.3. Export data as KML files so you can view your data using Google Earth.In this study i did i exported data as KML files then used Google Earth to view samples.Brian Williams
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From: "Steve Hatfield" sehatfield at insightbb.com> on 2006.09.26 at 14:33:24(14659)
Its called geocaching and it is a blast Ive found many unusual plants (to
me at least) while looking for a Tupperware container in the woods. Im sure
some researcher out there somewhere has to be using a gps to keep track of a
stand of some rare plant and if there not they should be!! They can help you
get back to the car too!!

See geocaching.com You can get a low end gps for as little as $87.00
Amazon.com or ebay has many.

Steve

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From: "Steve Lucas Exotic Rainforest" steve at exoticrainforest.com> on 2006.09.26 at 15:11:05(14660)
I found all sorts of global tracking positions on TROPICOS for
one plant I was researching. Someone is certainly using some sort of
tracking device to pinpoint locations.

Steve Lucas

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