Topic: Putting the Atlas into NBN Atlas
Everyone likes a spotty map. So following a huge push to increase our open data uploads to NBN Atlas I thought to encourage further efforts by demonstrating how simple and straightforward it would be for a naturalist to take a look at UK distribution maps of species of their choice.
The options available are as follows:
2. Interactive Map (NBN Atlas default)
3. Spatial Portal (an option available at 2.)
5. QGIS (with or without FSC’s Tombio tools)
7. Scratchpads (NHM)
8. Recording applications
A most unsatisfactory list. 1. was designed for NBN Gateway and though it still works the image is extraordinarily poor. 2. is slow and confusing, has the wrong projection and is feature poor. 3. is hardly better with far too many steps to get to a map and has no acceptable background layers (overprinted with enormous text) and cannot produce a usable image. 4. and 5. are only usable by Recording Schemes who produce their own Atlases and have the skills. Very labour intensive as they require data downloads but they can be done to international standards (which include UK) such as those for map presentation, projection & chloropleths by TDWG and EEA (Lillethun, 2011). The data for 6. are in unconnected silos and thus incomprehensive. 7. has little notion of biogeography but can support hand-selecting of strange geospatial shapes (same as iNaturalist). 8. don’t have GIS, just basic mapping utilities. Finally GBIF has few mapping facilities, their default is a strange projection.
I’ve now abandoned the idea of writing an article for Dipterists Forum’s Bulletin on this Atlas topic. No feedback to recorders via spotty maps.
Are there plans for improvements?
GBIF Biodiversity Open Data Ambassador