Topic: The NBN Atlas
As many of you are aware, following a technical review of the NBN Gateway, along with the NBN Strategy and Action Plan covering the period to 2020, we are in the process of developing and implementing a new biological information management infrastructure, the NBN Atlas. The NBN Atlas is based on the Atlas of Living Australia infrastructure. There will be separate Atlas front-ends for each of the four countries of the UK, as ways of accessing the underlying common database, as well as the overarching UK-wide Atlas. The individual country front-ends will be customisable and the steering groups and stakeholders will be involved in these decisions. Indeed, the NBN Atlas of Living Scotland is already available in beta-form.
During the technical review of the NBN Gateway, we heard that the main motives for data partners supplying data to the NBN Gateway was to “provide data for the common good” and to make “data available to all”. Furthermore, responses to the Strategy consultation clearly stated that the most important strategic aim was to “make biological data and information available to everyone”, and there was support for increasing the visibility and openness of data across the NBN. There was also the support for ensuring that records are made easily available as this could inform conservation on the ground. Respondents to the consultation also stated that the NBN Gateway did not meet data partners needs. In particular, restrictions on access to data and difficulty in gaining access to enhanced data were commonly cited as reasons for frustration.
Taking the views of the range of NBN members into account the NBN Trust, led by the Board of Trustees is committed to the NBN Atlas being open by default, except access to sensitive species which will be restricted. Initially, we would like, with your permission, to transfer the records that you have on the NBN Gateway, at their current public resolution, to the Atlas. We will be in touch when the Atlas is ready for these transfers. These datasets can be used as discovery datasets which will link to your own member page on the Atlas, where you can provide more information about your data holdings and the process for applying directly to you for enhanced access. This should reduce the number of spurious requests for data that are already available publicly or are for a different geographical area. Furthermore, you can customise your member page to showcase the services you provide.
Given the NBN’s objective of making biodiversity data more visible, as well as freely and openly available, we would like to work closely with you to produce a road map for increasing openness of data over the next few years. If you would be interested in being involved with a working group on this subject, please get in touch.
If you have any questions or would like any further information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org