The National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC) has launched a major upgrade to its online data portal, Biodiversity Maps. The new system offers enhanced online access to the Centre’s national repository of sightings data, consisting of more than four million verified records from multiple sources spanning almost 16,000 species.
The system is free and open to all via the Biodiversity Maps web interface. It is a fantastic tool for wildlife enthusiasts and members of the public seeking information on where a particular species can be found/has been seen in Ireland, but it really comes into its own as a policy, planning and conservation management tool.
“This new portal should be a game changer for the conservation of biological diversity in Ireland,” said Liam Lysaght, Director of the NBDC. “This is a significant investment in Ireland’s biological information infrastructure and forms the basis of our most central mission, which is to assist the mainstreaming of biodiversity data and information into decision making, planning, conservation management and research.”
As well as being able to search by single or multiple species, and by taxonomic grouping, sightings are also grouped according to policy relevance, so for the first time it’s possible to access data on 681 Protected, 972 Threatened and 425 Invasive Species at the click of a mouse. The system makes it much easier to analyse the distribution of these groups, and to accommodate them into local, regional and national policy, planning and conservation decisions.
‘In the same way that systems have been developed to assist the management of natural resources such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Biodiversity Maps now does the same for biodiversity,’ said Lysaght.
A key part of the new system’s design was making it accessible and useful to as wide a range of users as possible.
“A major consideration when developing the system was to deliver a greatly enhanced user interface and user experience in addition to extending the mapping and reporting functionality,” explained Barry O’Neill, IT and Data Manager with the NBDC. “With the release of this new technology we are confident that we have delivered a system that will be used by professionals to make their work more efficient, and to others who just want to find out more about their locality.”
See Biodiversity Maps in action here.