Article

Special issue of ZooKeys is dedicated to the digitisation of natural history collections

The most recent issue of ZooKeys (209) is entirely dedicated to the digitisation of natural history collections around the world. The catchy title, “No specimen left behind: mass digitization of natural history collections” describes the focus of this special issue. Many of the articles are authored by ALA partners including Paul Flemons and Penny Berents from the Australian Museum; Beth Mantle and Nicole Fisher from CSIRO; and ALA Director John La Salle.

All the papers are open access and freely available to download. So what are you waiting for? Grab a coffee and delve into this fascinating issue.

Panoramio

Panoramio images icon

Panoramio is a free service that allows you to upload, view and map spatially registered images (images that have be geolocated: given a latitude and longitude). The Spatial Portal of the ALA uses the Panoramio web services to tap and display any available images with a location within the displayed map window.

To activate the Panoramio function, click on the image icon beneath the Google Map scale slider bar. To de-activate Panoramio, click the icon agin and any displayed images will be removed.

The images are extremely useful for seeing what the area around the location looks like. The images may be of people but are more likely to be of landscapes. From these images, useful details can often be discerned, for example, vegetation type and structure, diversity in vegetation type, soil type, landscape, stream and river condition.

Only a limited number of images are displayed at any map scale, but the subset of images is dependent on the spatial extent of the map window. If the Panoramio function is enabled, zooming or panning the map will result in an update of the mapped thumbnail images. To see the images in more detail, just click on the image thumbnail and a larger image with links to image metadata and Panoramio will be displayed.

PLEASE: If you have taken images of sites for biological/environmental surveys, I would urge you to upload your images to Panoramio and share them with the research community and the public. Your attribution stays with the images and it is a great way of sharing a little of the information obtained from fieldwork. These images/photo points represent a wonderful source of information about a site at the time the photograph was taken. It does not matter if the images are of the landscape or the view from the corner point of a sample site.

Just zoom and pan the map to the area of interest and then click on the Panoramio icon beneath the zoom slider bar and a suite of thumbnails will be displayed on the map as below-

Example Panoramio image

Panoramio images

Clicking on the image on the map will take you to the Panoramio site and display a full size image with supplied metadata.

Panoramio web site for selected image

Article

Annotations – alerts about new annotations and annotations of interest

How are annotations to records returned to the data provider?

The best way to do this is to set up a filter for the records you are interested in, and then create an alert that will send you a regular email (hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly).

The best way to do this is to:

1. Go to the ALA home page, select Data sets, or use the link below.

http://www.ala.org.au/data-sets/.

2. On the left of the page is the ‘Search for occurrences records’ field, enter a search term, e.g. ‘South Australia’, ‘amphibians’, ‘natural resources’, or leave it blank to see all 33+ million records.

Occurence records filtered on South Australia and Amphibians

Occurence records filtered on South Australia and Amphibians

3. You can refine your search by clicking the links on the left hand side to narrow down the information that is displayed, e.g. State/Territory, Institution, Class.  You can view the selected records on a map, or statistically in the form of charts, by selecting the tabs above the records list.

4. To receive an email alert when any of your selected records are annotated, or new records meeting the criteria are added, click the ‘Alerts’ button which is located just below the ‘Records’ tab.

This functionality can be used for anyone interested in a particular data set, not just the owners of the data set, in order to see any newly added records or annotations to selected data set.

Email Alerts

Press the View your current alerts, to see the enabled annotation alert.

Annotations on SA Frogs

Annotations on SA Frogs

How can a data provider can access (in bulk) records which have identified validation issues?

1. Go to the ALA home page, select Data sets, or use the link below.

http://www.ala.org.au/data-sets/

2. On the left of the page is the ‘Search for occurrences records’ field, enter a search term, e.g. ‘South Australia’, ‘amphibians’, ‘natural resources’, or leave it blank to see all 33+ million records.

3. You can refine your search by clicking the links on the left hand side to narrow down the information that is displayed, e.g. State/Territory, Institution, Class.

4. In the same left hand side column there is a facet group called ‘Record Issues’. By clicking the issue you are interested in you can create an email alert by clicking the ‘Alerts’ button under the ‘Records’ tab.  If you want to be alerted about more than one issue, select the square symbol next to ‘Record Issues’ and a drop-down box appears giving you the ability to choose more than one.

Record Issues

5. Below the ‘Records’ tab, click the ‘Downloads’ button, this will download your selection as a data set. You will receive a file in CSV format, which can be opened as a spreadsheet. There are a few restrictions on use of the data.  Please refer to the metadata that comes with the CSV file.

Occurence records filtered on South Australia and Amphibians

Occurence records filtered on South Australia and Amphibians

Download records

Checking your alerts

Pressing the My Profile in the ALA header takes you to your My Profile page, after you have logged in. From here you can go to Manage your alerts. See example images below.

Annotations

WA Dataset alerts