Collector's Guide – Queensland by Degrees

Download a pdf file of the full Collector's Guide.

Welcome and thank you for considering contributing to the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland's community geography project. If you would like to take part in the project, please email the Society at info@rgsq.org.au and let us know which point(s) you will be tackling. You can tell from our index map which points are available.

This guide will help you find the confluence point that you have selected and take the needed photos. It also outlines the information that we would like you to pass on to us on the locality of the point and the surrounding area that lies within the degree square that surrounds the point (roughly within 55 km).

Note: The list of topics we are asking for is presented as a guide. If you cannot find any information on a particular subject that is OK – simply leave that heading blank and we will try to locate other sources, or it may not apply to this locality. Conversely, if we have neglected to include something that is locally important, please include it.

Finding the Point

Each confluence point is the junction of a whole degree of latitude and longitude and the objective is to locate that point on the ground, take photos from that point, and make geographical observations of the locality. We are not looking for absolute precision; rather we are looking for photos and information that are representative of the locality. For example, if the actual point fell in the bottom of a gully, the photographs would really be meaningless, so a viewpoint from above the gully would be more appropriate. Similarly, most points will fall on private land and it may not be possible to reach the precise point without trespassing. In that case, if permission of the owner cannot be obtained, photographs from the nearest point of public access (preferably within a kilometre of the point) will be appropriate, unless of course you have access to a helicopter!

A map or maps showing the point in relation to roads and property boundaries together with the individual site collection form can be downloaded from the web site (www.rgsq.org.au/qldbydeg). You might also want to use Google Earth to download a high resolution satellite image of the location as a guide. The best available topographical maps (preferably scales such as 1:25,000 or 1:50,000) would also be useful in locating the point. The task of navigating to the point will require some map reading skills and, if available, a GPS receiver such as a car navigation system.

The Photos

The objective is to obtain photographs of the surrounding landscape to the north, south, east and west. It would be best to try and get the photos between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm so that the sun is reasonably high in the sky, though this will not always be possible. Digital images are preferred so that they can simply be emailed to us. Please name each photo file with the point reference and the direction in which the image is looking. For example, for the photo at 27ºS 153ºE looking north, a file name such as '27.153N' would be fine. If you only have a film camera we would appreciate it if you could send us prints with accompanying caption notes so that we can scan them for inclusion in the study. Photos will not be returned.

The Locality Information

Point Name: A provisional name for the point has been assigned. If you think there is a more appropriate name please let us know.

Location: A narrative description of where the site is located. This could include:

Name of the property (e.g. national park, station property, etc) within which the point falls
Nearest populated place and/or significant physical feature
Road or roads close to the point
Local government area
Major drainage catchment

The Landscape: A narrative description in your own words, (preferably using the standard terms discussed below) of the following features in the immediate vicinity of the location:

Landforms and elevation
Soils and geology of the site
Vegetation around the site
Fauna within the general location of the point including known rare or endangered species
Current land use surrounding the site (e.g. pasture; wheat crop; forest plantation, etc)

The Climate: We will be able to access data from the Bureau of Meteorology, however, if you have local rainfall and temperature observations at, or close to, the point that would be useful. Where possible we would like to have details of extreme conditions (e.g. highest and lowest recorded temperatures or the highest monthly rainfall ever recorded) as well as mean or median data.

Comments on extreme weather events such as notable cyclones, droughts, heatwaves or bushfires would also be helpful.

Within the Degree Square

A map showing the extent of the degree square in which the point is located at the centre is available by clicking on the square you are interested in on the index map. The objective is to describe significant features within that area to provide a wider understanding of the diversity/homogeneity of the area. Key groups of information to be included are:

The Indigenous Story: Where possible, include notes on:

The main indigenous language or tribal group(s) that has occupied the area
Known use of the land (e.g. hunting, use of fire, fishing, etc)
Known sites of significance (ceremonial grounds, art sites, middens, etc). There is no need tosend us exact locations of sensitive sites. Exact locations will not be included on the website.
Early episodes of conflict (if any)
Administration (Community Governments, land councils, etc)

European Exploration and Settlement: Where possible include notes on:

Early exploration
Early settlement (including original vegetation, early land use, crops grown etc)
Significant historic disaster events such as floods, storms, fires, etc

Today: Include notes on:

Main landform types within the degree square (e.g. mountains, hills, plains, etc)
Major geological and vegetation types (we can do a lot of this)
Significant natural features in the degree square (photos would be welcome)
Significant settlements
Significant infrastructure (e.g. ports, power stations, water reservoirs, etc)
Population of the area and key demographic indicators (we can do most of this)
Land use - primary industry, mining, tourist sites, etc
Significant environmental and/or social changes affecting the area
Anything else that you feel is either representative of, or significant within, the area.

If you use a documentary source for the information provided please include the details so that those sources can be properly attributed in the study.

Standard terminology

So that people can make direct comparisons between points we aim to employ standard terms to describe common features including vegetation types, landscape features and land use types. The criteria we have used for selecting these terms are that they are meaningfully descriptive and not overly technical in their language. A glossary of the preferred terms is included in the attachment which is appended to the full Collector's Guide. Common names for animals and plants also need to be standardised as far as possible. The full Collector's Guide includes a list of suggested references for these common names.

Submitting your entry

Please email your completed entry, and any queries, to: info@rgsq.org.au.

Send each photo as a separate JPG file, or similar graphics file. Do not embed photos in the document.

Send the text of the locality information as a Word or Wordperfect attachment. We will take all the formatting instructions out, so it would be a waste to spend time setting it out.

If you don't have access to email, post prints of your captioned photos (will not be returned) and the text to RGSQ, 237 Milton Road, Milton Qld 4064.