National Biodiversity Network

The National Biodiversity Network (NBN) is a collaborative venture in the United Kingdom committed to making biodiversity information available through various media, including on the internet via the NBN Gateway, the data search web site of the NBN.

It is estimated that up to 60,000 people routinely record biodiversity information in the UK. Most of this effort is voluntary and is organised through about 2,000 national societies and recording schemes. The UK government through its agencies also collects biodiversity data and one of the principal elements for the collation and interpretation of this data is the network of Local (Biological) Records Centres [1].

The NBN Trust [2], the organisation facilitating the building of the Network, supports agreed standards for the collection, collation and exchange of biodiversity data and encourages improved access. The present partnership consists of over 30 public and voluntary organisations.

The NBN Gateway currently holds over 57.5 million records from 527 different datasets (December 2010). Data on the NBN Gateway can be accessed by anyone interested in UK wildlife and can be searched at many different levels, as it allows the viewing of distribution maps and the downloading of data by using a variety of interactive tools. For instance, users can look at a specific area at Ordnance Survey grid map level or select one of the vice-counties. All records are available at least at 10 km scale and many at 2 km or 1 km, and some are also available at 100m resolution (or better) although usually only registered and logged-in users can see these. The maps can be customised by date range and can show changes in a species’ distribution.

The organisation believes that, by providing tools to make wildlife data accessible in a digitised and exchangeable form and by providing easy access to the information people need, wise and informed decisions can be made to ensure the natural environment is protected now and for future generations.

The data on the NBN Gateway can also be accessed by web services which allow views of the data to be incorporated directly in your web site. A tool for 'cleaning' biological records is also available from the NBN web site.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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