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March 28, 2017

Building and sharing biodiversity data

Author: Chris Gentle, Node Leader, Biodiversity Information Management

Perhaps the fundamental challenge to managing biodiversity information is not technical, but cultural, where “creating a culture of shared expertise, robust common data standards, policies and incentives for data sharing and a system of persistent storage and archiving of data”, is considered essential, according to the Global Biodiversity Informatics Outlook.

So how do we collectively leverage the wealth of data collected by public, private and community organisations and ensure that it can be accessed easily to provide a greater benefit for Western Australians?

A key objective for WABSI’s Information Management Node is to enhance the framework within the State’s biodiversity community to streamline processes and data standards that improve data quality and avoid duplication in the collection of environmental data.

Fortunately, foundation best practices for data use and sharing within the public sector already exist thanks to the Western Australian Land Information System. This was enhanced with the formal adoption of the Open Data Policy.

Our ongoing consultation with stakeholders highlights how critical it is to improve data management and access frameworks for end users of biodiversity information.

For this shared goal to be successful, industry, government and community will need to collaborate and:

  • Commit to a shared vision of a common biodiversity information management system.
  • Enable policies that facilitate access to biodiversity data.
  • Optimise the biodiversity data collection life-cycle to leverage information that already exists and avoid costly duplication.
  • Support biodiversity information knowledge networks that recognise data custodians and providers

WABSI continues to seek further input as we develop a roadmap and options for a shared information system.


Editor: Preeti Castle

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