Two Invaluable Programs for the Collector from DeLorme
Mapping Software by G. Thomas Watters
The most valuable part of your
collection is the label. It may also be the most neglected and
unfinished part. If your collection is to have any scientific
value, each specimen needs at least three pieces of information:
where it was found, who found it, and when. Way down the list
on importance is: what is it? Identifications may change daily,
but the collection information does not. Without these data,
your shells are just pretty paperweights.
Whether you collect your own
specimens, or trade or purchase them, you need to verify the
locality record. The rule of thumb is to give enough information
that anyone reading the label could find the spot. Don't rely
on unwritten notes in your head. It won't do your heirs any
good. Granted, unless you collected the shell, the information
may be less than informative. "Philippines" and "Florida
Keys" are near useless as localities.
Before computers, when trilobites
roamed the seas, one had to rely on paper maps to find a locality.
Good ones, such as topographic maps, were costly and covered
little ground. Perhaps the best paper maps to come along were
those produced by DeLorme. Many states have been completed.
The detail of county roads, streams, keys, and other features
made these oversize paperbacked atlases an instant success with
naturalists. My Ohio copy is now mostly held together by duct
tape, with marginal notes scribbled while in a moving car, and
covered in coffee stains. Thus, it was with something approaching
reverence that I installed DeLorme's two CD-ROM-based mapping
programs: Global Explorer and Street Atlas USA. If you are awed
by how much information can be stuffed on a CD, this will be
a religious experience.
Global Explorer - This
program is a guide to the geography of the Earth. It contains
over 120,000 indexed places and features, and information on
20,000 of them. You probably knew that Pointe des Almadies at
Dakar was the western-most point of land in all Africa, but
did you know that Hell Ville in Madagascar was named for Admiral
de Hell, governor of Reunion? Or that Dzyarzhynskaya is the
tallest mountain in Belarussia at 1,135 ft? All of this gazetteer
information may be gleaned by clicking on special symbols that
appear on the maps. You may turn the symbols off if you don't
want the clutter. The maps may be zoomed in or out with buttons,
or you can simply click and drag a square around whatever you
wish to zoom in on. At maximum resolution, the map is about
nine miles wide - anywhere on Earth. Selected major cities zoom
into a map width of about two miles and contain many street
names. Additional buttons give air route mileages between two
points. While you cannot print out directly from Global Explorer,
you can copy to the Windows Clipboard and paste it into another
In addition to cities, towns,
and roads, the maps show rivers, mountains, reefs, and other
natural features. You may find places and things by typing their
names. This is like a dictionary, in that you must spell a word
correctly for it to be found. You can narrow your search by
selecting a particular country and/or category of places. For
instance, you could look at just the lakes from Taiwan (four
are listed). It is important to remember that there are many
more features not on the list that appear on the map. So if
you don't find it in the index, it still pays to go searching
for it. Why something appears in the index, and something else
does not, is a mystery. The minuscule island of Nosy Andriamitaroka
is in the index, but the more substantial Malaita in the Solomons
is not. Many rivers and streams are indicated, but most are
So how does Global Explorer fare
as a collections locality check? I randomly selected 120 locales
from my collection. I was able to find 95 of them (79%). Others
may be in there, but may have been missed because of spelling
errors. In summary, this program enables you to correct spellings,
supply additional information, and create printed maps of a
site. I find it indispensable in checking locality records.
Now you'll know where legendary collecting spots like Goree,
Tranquebar, and Amboine are located. It is entertaining, informative,
and well-crafted -- and well worth your money.
Global Explorer runs within
Windows 3.1 on a 386 or better PC with a CD-ROM drive and VGA.
The program uses 3 Mb of disc space. List price about $59.
Street Atlas USA 3.0 for Windows
- Type your street address, and it will show your street, which
side of the street you live on, street numbers on the street
behind you, the name of that creek in your back yard, your longitude
and latitude... everything but you looking out the window. Don't
know the address? You can find an area based on zip code or
area code and exchange. You can look up any of one million places,
or 25 million street segments. They're all here: Monkey's Eyebrow,
KY; Bugtussle, TN; and the always popular Intercourse, PA. You
can print custom maps directly from the program using many annotating
options or paste a map into another application. You can annotate
directly on the map and save it to be displayed whenever you
view that area. This CD-ROM mapping program is nothing short
As the name states, this is meant
to be a street atlas. However, it also contains nearly every
river, stream, mountain, key, road, and pothole in the USA.
At maximum resolution, the map is about 1/3 of a mile in width.
Unfortunately, unlike Global Explorer, you cannot search for
these features - only places and addresses. Thus, you must give
it a place to go to to find a feature, the Green River at Munfordville
for instance. Another disadvantage is that there are no county
names on the map, although at high resolution there are county
lines shown. This seems a major exclusion for a program that
has everything else, and is its major drawback. But a great
plus is the ability to get longitude and latitude from the cursor
location. Wherever you point, there are the coordinates in the
lower left. Unlike Global Explorer, Street Atlas is not a gazetteer
- it does not supply information about any of the places.
To test it, I randomly pulled
130 USA localities from my collection. It found an impressive
115 of them (88%). This program's greatest use is to the freshwater
and terrestrial collector, but marine shellers will find it
a very useful tool as well. With the excellent plotting functions,
you could theoretically produce a map of every locale for every
shell in your collection.
runs within Windows 3.1, NT,
or 95 on a 386/33 or better PC with a CD-ROM drive and VGA.
The program uses 4 Mb of disc space. List price about $79, but
can be found cheaper. There also is a Mac version.
If you want more information,
demos, and on-line ordering, check out DeLorme's impressive
Web site at http://www.delorme.com.
DeLorme's address is Lower Main St., PO Box 298, Freeport, ME
04032, 207-865-4171. Look 'em up on Street Atlas USA. They're
next to I-95 and the Maine Central Railroad line, according
to the program.
Aquatic Ecology Laboratory and
Museum of Biological Diversity, The Ohio State University, 1314
Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH 43212-1394
of Central New South Wales
A Survey of the Shelled Marine Molluscs of the Sydney
Metropolitan Area and Adjacent Coasts by Patty Jansen. Privately
published. Townsville, Australia, 1995. Soft cover, stitched
binding, 129 pages 21 X 29.5cm (8 3/8" X 11 7/8")
A$40.00 +A$7.00 Surface mail, A$12 economy air.
What's a nice agronomy PhD from
the Netherlands doing in a place like eastern Australia writing
a book on the shells of Sydney? (Did I mention she is also the
mother of 2 1/2 children, and loves to garden, draw, and make
clothes for her children?) She's doing a bang-up job, and making
a lot of us awfully glad there's a Patty Jansen. Patty's book,
Seashells of Central New South Wales, is a gem. Actually it's
an industrial diamond, because for all of its attractiveness,
it is a much needed working tool for the collector of Australian
A shell collector from childhood
with an interest in small shells and micromolluscs, Patty discovered,
when she came to New South Wales in 1988, that there was little
interest in these small shells among her fellow collectors,
because there was no book on the shells of New South Wales.
Her own pursuit of their identities took her to scientific publications
housed in the library of the Australian Museum; she became a
volunteer at the museum, began writing for the Sydney Sheller,
newsletter of the Conchology Section of the Royal Zoological
Society of New South Wales, and one thing led to another. Patty
has now written the first book ever on the shells of New South
Wales. And her mentor there, Winston Ponder, has done the nicely
complimentary foreward to it.
Her aim is "to enable interested
people, both amateur collectors and professionals, to easily
identify shells found on beaches in central New South Wales."
Thus she restricts her material covered (a mere 484 species)
to species that can be found on beaches, because they are "readily
accessible to everyone." Unlike most books, including Barry
Wilson's 2 volume Australian Marine Shells, Patty Jansen's book
includes a large number of micromolluscs, readily available
from shell grit. ("One bag of shell grit can yield more
exciting finds than a stroll on the beach at low tide.")
Bivalves are well-represented
(40 families), and there are even a few scaphopods and a cephalopod,
the little worldwide Spirula spirula. Among the 79 families
of gastropods represented, the reader will find such groups
as the Litiopidae, Eatonellidae, Iravadiidae and Epigridae;
her own favorites, the Rissoiidae and related families, and
the Pyramidellidae are well-covered.
She appends quite a lengthy reference
list for the more advanced collector, enabling further work
on the taxonomy and ecology of these species. A short but selective
glossary is helpful to the beginner. Maps of the area covered
and the obligatory charts of shell features increase the book's
usefulness. Patty Jansen is a beach collector by preference
and even has a few words of advice on the time-honored art of
I've saved the second-best part
for last (the best part is that there is such a book). Did you
note that little reference I slipped in above, the one about
Patty Jansen's fondness for drawing? Well she is also very good
at it. She has illustrated every one of the 484 species in the
book with one of her own excellent -- and very accurate, judging
by comparison with both photos and actual specimens in my collection
-- and charming drawings. Get a copy now, if you have any interest
in the shells of Down Under. That A$40 translates to only about
US$32. Your favorite book dealer will certainly have them for
sale, or there will be a few order forms available at the convention.