[Taxacom] GBIF progress

Mary Barkworth Mary at biology.usu.edu
Mon Jan 5 07:49:14 CST 2009

Dear All,
in these days and weeks many colleagues will be busy with preparing the
4th (last!) National Reports for the Convention on Biological Diversity
and for sure the question will come up again: cannot we accelerate the
process of unlocking vital information hiding in natural history
collections and other resources? 
I'd say Yes we can!

In the beginning of last year, GBIF had the target of reaching one
billion records by the end of 2008. They didn't reach by far, but now
there may be a good moment to think about additional strategies. In
fact, the discussion started by GBIF does sound convincing and realistic
to me: Development of an infrastructure for demand-driven mobilisation
of data!

We just know there are plenty of unmobilised data out there but don't
know where. So, what basically seems to be needed is a sort of Index to
data that are not yet digitized or not yet open-access. 
Resources that should be indexed include literature, collections, online
resources, etc. - as well as active field researchers, naturalists, etc.
who can be recruited for ad-hoc data collection.

>From my point of view, an index should have as basic elements:
A standardised (fit-for-use) electronic catalogue of names with focus on
species' level names, and an easy-to-use global grid so that all
geospatial information can be stored and retrieved in handy units, -
e.g., simple lat/lon-cells like in systems used by some air patrols
(simply coded, e.g. 'NE47011a' for the upper left quarter of the
one-degree cell between 47B
0-48°N/ 11°-12°E. Such cells can be displayed by exactly one pixel point
in the global overview map used by GBIF).

Best wishes,

Wolfgang Lorenz, Tutzing, Germany

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