Putting fossils on the map: Applying a geographical information system to heritage resources

Authors

  • Merrill van der Walt Evolutionary Studies Institute, School of Geosciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Antony K. Cooper Built Environment Unit, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Inge Netterberg Netterberg Consulting, Leuven, Belgium
  • Bruce S. Rubidge Evolutionary Studies Institute, School of Geosciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2015/20140371

Keywords:

Spatial data, Permo-triassic, database, Karoo Supergroup

Abstract

A geographical information system (GIS) database was compiled of Permo-Triassic tetrapod fossils from the Karoo Supergoup in South African museum collections. This database is the first of its kind and has great time applicability for understanding tetrapod biodiversity change though time more than 200 million years ago. Because the museum catalogues all differed in recorded information and were not compliant with field capture requirements, this information had to be standardised to a format that could be utilised for archival and research application. Our paper focuses on the processes involved in building the GIS project, capturing metadata on fossil collections and formulating future best practices. The result is a multi-layered GIS database of the tetrapod fossil record of the Beaufort Group of South Africa for use as an accurate research tool in palaeo- and geoscience research with applications for ecology, ecosystems, stratigraphy and basin development.

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Published

2015-11-26

How to Cite

van der Walt, M., Cooper, A. K., Netterberg, I., & Rubidge, B. S. (2015). Putting fossils on the map: Applying a geographical information system to heritage resources. South African Journal of Science, 111(11/12), 7. https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2015/20140371

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Section

Research Article
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