Miles Nicholls, Data Analyst, Atlas of Living Australia

What is the ALA interested in?

The Atlas is bringing together information to develop species profiles and to plot occurrence records for each species:

  • Any facts about a species can contribute to a species profile (e.g. larval food plants, morphology, predators, parasites, habitat – basically any statement can be applied to the species as whole).
  • At their most basic, occurrence records include a species name, a latitude, a longitude. More comprehensive records may include detailed ecological information and occurrences over time from repeated, detailed surveys.

Why contribute to the ALA?

Sharing data will help Australia to respond more intelligently to the need to conserve and manage biodiversity in an environment of changing climate and continuing pressures on land-use. Contributors will be supporting the growth and quality of Australian biodiversity research. As the ALA develops into the primary source for Australian biodiversity data, there will be opportunities for:

  • Greater exposure and increased profile for contributors and their activities,
  • Closer collaboration between members of the biodiversity community and
  • Discovery of new research opportunities

Where is the data coming from?

Current partners and contributors to the ALA include:

We are also keen to develop close relationships with interest groups such as bird watching or fish survey groups that often hold high quality profile and observation information.

What happens to shared data?

Data shared with the ALA will be made available on the Internet under specific terms of use, including a set of standard terms (e.g. IP rights outlined below) and some specific terms which may be required by the contributor. The data will be accessible in both a raw form and via ALA search and download tools.

There are several principles that underlie ALA data sharing:


The ALA is sharing data with everyone, not just ALA users and not just via the ALA. Any sharing or “mobilisation” infrastructure that the ALA puts in place will make the data publicly available.


The ALA and downstream users claim no Intellectual Property (IP) rights over data from contributors. The ALA does not own the data and the contributors retain the right and responsibility to manage their data.


Creative Commons Australia. The ALA encourages the use of Creative Commons licensing. Efficient sharing of data is very difficult unless a common licensing framework is adopted for access and re-use of data. It is the ability to combine data from different sets and contributors that really provides value to the users of the ALA. Creative Commons licences allow the ALA to require users to attribute the source of data and to restrict use to non-commercial applications.

Interested in sharing data?

For data owners that wish to contribute data but need more information or resources please contact the ALA, so we can discuss how to share data.

For more information:
phone: +61 2 6246 4463
alternative email: