Add a link to a POWO distribution map in the Taxon page

In the Taxon page, a link to a distribution map that makes reference would be very useful.

For instance, reviewing the Senna observations, I generated the following document manually in order to spare much time while reviewing observations. I put similar species in the same row. For each species, I needed a link to the taxon page (to check the pictures) and a link to the POWO page (to check the distribution map).

Of course I didn’t want to rely on the distribution map generated by iNat, because it is biased by all identification errors and more importantly because if I find the same species at a new location I need a reference document to know if it this new location is reasonable or not for this species.

Senna alata iNat Senna reticulata iNat
Senna alexandrina iNat
Senna armata iNat
Senna arnottiana iNat
Senna atomaria iNat
Senna aymara iNat Senna versicolor iNat
Senna barclayana iNat Senna sophera iNat
Senna bicapsularis iNat Senna pendula iNat

It would be great to have a link to the POWO distribution map in the taxon page. And it would be great to have also a link to the POWO distribution map for all other taxons in the “Other species commonly misidentified as this species” panel, so that it would provide exactly the same informations as in the table above:

Near “Senna reticulata” I would like a link to the POWO distribution map, and another link near “Senna alata” in the bottom panel.

Indeed, there are several pairs of species that are very similar and that are [often] distinguishable by location. Taking the location into account is even more important when reviewing observations whose pictures don’t show the details (which happens >90%).

Such a feature would be incentive, it would help learning more about the species and it would make the identification work quicker and better.

Currently, the POWO (and all other species and lower taxa) distributions are supposed be entered into the Status tab, by way of geographic checklists. This makes them appear on the Google maps as green highlighted areas. However, this doesn’t happen in practice for a LOT of species - either because curators don’t know, or because it’s a real pain in the ass to do.

A secondary issue is that trying to extrapolate the POWO mapping to actual geographic units can be challenging, as well. For some, it’s pretty easy “Malaya” = “Malaysia” and “Singapore”. But “Lesser Sunda Islands” includes a lot of, but not all of, Indonesia. And who knows, without research, that “Borneo” is actually several separate places? I think (I always have to look it up) five states of Indonesia, two states of Malaysia, and a country, Brunei.

That’s just one corner of the world.


I wonder if we could have the PoWO defined places bulk loaded into iNat, or at least the ones that differ from any existing iNat place. Maybe it would be worth looking at an automated pathway for that range data to be implemented, perhaps with validation by curators?

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I guess before we contemplate a high profile for the POWO maps in iNaturalist, I would like to see more discussion about why we should consider them necessarily more accurate or authoritative than other sources. How, and how often, are they maintained/updated by Kew as part of the POWO project? Where are they getting their range information?

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Jean-Philippe, just want to confirm you are aware on the map there is already an option to toggle on the GBIF dataset. That might be the best source to use as it collates thousands of scientific datasets and collections, many of which are specimen based.


Thanks! Could you post a screenshot to show how to get the map quickly (from the taxon page)?

Out with only my mobile right now so no screenshot but in the taxon page on the map tab just click the stacked books like icon at the top right and it is there.



Great! Thanks a lot!

I will use it.

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