The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) team has been busy over the last few months starting work on systems to integrate Australian biodiversity data. We hope soon to be able to offer early versions of some tools and interfaces. The real value from a project like the Atlas will however come from the resources which data owners share through the system.
We would like therefore to ask for your involvement in any of the following ways:
The ALA aims to help researchers to understand the distribution of Australian plants and animals. We are therefore inviting everyone to let us know of data they hold on the occurrence of any Australian species. We will then explore the best ways to assist data owners in linking their information to the ALA.
(Before the public release in November 2010. This group is still available and is harvested regularly into the Atlas. Alternatively see the Tools – Images Page for more details.
The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) has set up a group on the Flickr photo-sharing site to allow photographers to share their images of any organism. The Atlas encourages Australian photographers to use this site make their images available to the ALA, EOL and other users of biodiversity information.
The Biodiversity Collections Index (BCI) is an international initiative to build an online catalogue of all herbaria and natural history collections. The ALA will use the BCI as a key reference and would like to encourage Australian collection managers to make sure that their collections are registered and described in the system.
For more information, see Biodiversity Collections Index
The ALA is a collaboration between a large number of participant organisations and institutions. Their content will be the most significant part of what the Atlas has to offer. Over the coming months we plan to highlight what different ALA participants are doing to develop and share information as part of their contribution to the project.
This month we have an update from Queensland Museum on the new Vernon software system they have been implementing to manage information on more than 1.2 million specimens and other collection objects held by the museum. This has required significant effort on their part in cleansing data and ensuring that it makes consistent use of standard terms.
The Vernon software supports Darwin Core, one of the key data standards adopted by the ALA. This will allow Queensland Museum to share existing and future data from its biodiversity collections through the Atlas.
TDWG held its annual conference on biodiversity informatics in Fremantle, WA, 19-26 October 2008. This meeting was very well attended by delegates from across Australia and around the world and addressed many issues of relevance to the ALA.
Presentations from the conference were recorded and are available online as movie files. This includes ten presentations specifically addressing Australian biodiversity informatics and the work of the ALA.
Over the last two months work has continued on the following tasks: