SGRC's Biodiversity Atlas Launches Improved Citizen Science Reporting Tools

SGRC's Biodiversity Atlas Launches Improved Citizen Science Reporting Tools

Mar 07 2013
The Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre, as part of their ongoing development of the Columbia Basin Biodiversity Atlas, has rolled out a new release of the site with exciting citizen science reporting tools and map interface upgrades.

As a means of engaging Basin residents in promoting a healthy, biodiversity in our region, the developers of the Columbia Basin Biodiversity Atlas have added several citizen science observation tools. 

Project coordinator, Ian Parfitt, has this to say about the recent upgrades: "The Biodiversity Atlas is entering into an exciting phase with the new map interface and the introduction of citizen science tools. Now, as well as being a decision-making aid for conservation purposes, the Atlas is an opportunity for basin residents to get involved and make a real contribution to our understanding of the diverse and unique biodiversity native to the Columbia Basin. In the near future, we'll also be exploring the Atlas' potential in an educational setting."

Valerie Huff, Project Coordinator for the Kootenay Camas Project, adds "We are excited to see the Columbia River Basin Biodiversity Atlas evolving into an important hub for citizen science. The Atlas is already an excellent resource for information on biodiversity in the Columbia Basin. Adding new tools for the public participation in scientific research is a win-win for conservation, providing scientists with rich biogeographic information while making it easy for people without science backgrounds to get involved in the monitoring and restoration of important local species, like the camas lily."

The Atlas has been a collaborative initiative since its beginning a decade ago. Always evolving, the Atlas team continues to seek out additional partners for general help and/or data sharing. This approach is essential to delivering high-quality information on biodiversity in the Basin, which will help both casual and scientific users and, ultimately, the fish, animals and plant life calling the area home.

What is Citizen Science?

Simply put, citizen science is an easy and fun way for you to contribute to healthy biodiversity in the Columbia River Basin. It is particularly effective in projects covering a large geographic area and/or those which have a long duration, as in the case of the Columbia Basin Biodiversity Atlas, where we are covering the entire Canadian portion of the Columbia River Basin and is a long-term undertaking.

Monitoring Endangered Species with the Citizen Science Reporting Tools

The Biodiversity Atlas is perfect for citizen science and a great opportunity for citizens to get involved. You can help with things like the monitoring of endangered species (and even not-so endangered species) with several different tools:

New Map Interface Makes Refresh Even Faster

Map of the Columbia River Basin as part of the Biodiversity Atlas

The new map interface using ArcGIS server technology means the maps now refresh more quickly as viewers zoom in and out and pan this way and that. Visitors will also now see "Fish" and "Flora" species on the maps, including the white sturgeon and camas lily respectively.

Interactive maps, that allow you to view layers of data from a variety of sources, are the heart of the Biodiversity Atlas. You can customize your map-based search and learn more about specific habitats and species.

About the Columbia Basin Biodiversity Atlas

The Columbia River Basin Biodiversity Atlas was initially funded and developed by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) in 2001. In 2007, FWCP collaborated with SGRC to continue with development. Today, the Atlas is managed by SGRC in partnership with major funders including the FWCP, Columbia Basin Trust, The Nature Trust of BC and a multi-stakeholder steering committee. Learn more about the Columbia Basin Biodiversity Atlas. For media inquiries, please contact Andrew Creighton at 250.551.0305.

About the Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre (SGRC)

The Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre is a leading-edge research centre specializing in geospatial technologies to aid in solving critical issues pertaining to environmental and socio-economic problems. The SGRC provides complementary expertise, access to data and state-of-the-art GIS and other research tools and skills to the Columbia Basin Regional Development Institute. For any questions, contact SGRC Coordinator, Ian Parfitt at 250.365.7292 ext 524.

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