Launch of Tools and Services

We’re pleased to launch a new Tools section on our data portal. This first instance contains web forms and programming interfaces that convert geographic coordinates in degrees/minutes/seconds to decimal degrees and to atomize dates into numerical representations of day, month, and year. We welcome any feedback you may have on the speed, accuracy, and presentation of the results produced by these tools. This new section will expand; other data transformation and validation tools are being planned.

Why might these be useful?

If need to convert a legacy geographic coordinate such as 45° 32′ 25″ N, 129° 40′ 31″ W to the decimal degree representation 45.54, -129.675, you may find this to be a tedious and time consuming exercise. If you need to convert several hundred or a few thousand coordinates for use in data analysis or mapping, the task is downright frustrating. If your task is to convert hundreds of thousands of coordinates in a collections management database, you’ll no doubt look for easier jobs to complete. If you are designing the infrastructure to convert scanned images of insect labels into digitized metadata, you probably have dates like 1999-VI-19 or 2/IV/1945 that need automatic interpretation and parsing into year, month, and day.

Our data conversion and validation tools originated in code behind the Explorer where species occurrence data are extracted from our archive, ingested into a geospatial database, then presented on a dynamically generated map. We realized that these conversion and validation tools would be equally useful for researchers and data managers with similar needs. So, we encapsulated the functionality into an extensible open source library called the narwhal processor, designed interfaces for computer-computer interaction, and then built a series of simple web pages to help illustrate what these tools can do.

Source :

We’re grateful for contributions received from Daniel Amariles, Systems Engineer at Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt in Bogota D.C., Colombia and past Canadensys team-member, Peter Desmet, LifeWatch Coordinator at Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) in Brussels, Belgium.

Stay tuned for more tools!