[tdwg] Consolidating TDWG work

Donald.Hobern at csiro.au Donald.Hobern at csiro.au
Wed Mar 25 00:43:05 CET 2009

Dear TDWG Members and Friends,

Those of you who attended the conference in Perth last year will remember Annie Simpson's explanation of how hard it still is for a group like the Global Invasive Species Information Network (GISIN) to take TDWG's work and apply it directly to solve data integration issues in their community.

As I have previously suggested, I believe we should look closely at GISIN's requirements and make sure that those in a similar situation have all the tools and documentation required to start connecting data easily in ways that are compatible with TDWG standards.  We have most of the pieces in place.  We just need to organise and document them better.

Invasive species are of great significance to many countries.  This means that addressing GISIN's requirements is directly relevant to a large number of TDWG participants.  However their scenario is also a template for data sharing in many other biodiversity-related projects.  They need to aggregate information from many sources to populate several inter-related data models (BioStatus, Occurrences, ProfileURLs, ImpactStatus, ManagementStatus and DispersalStatus).  Several of these are very close to existing data models based on TDWG standards (for example, the Occurrence model can be considered to be extended Darwin Core).  Others are examples of the kind of community-specific data which all biodiversity projects need to share.

TDWG's goal should be to ensure that GISIN and similar groups can follow a simple set of instructions (a "cook book") and use standard tools to build a network of this kind, and that they can do so in a way which ensures that related communities can also benefit from the data they share.  For example, if GISIN members use the GISIN toolkit to share data, we ought to make sure that no further steps are required for GBIF, OBIS and others to integrate GISIN Occurrence data into their own indexes of species occurrences, or for EOL, ALA and others to integrate GISIN ImpactStatus, ManagementStatus and DispersalStatus data into their species profiles.

I am therefore writing this email as an appeal for TDWG members to step forward and help to complete the work we have started.  I am setting a challenge for us to do whatever still needs to be done to our standards, tools and data sharing recommendations so that we can produce such a cook book by the end of 2009.  I don't believe this is an unrealistic goal.  We can start work now on identifying and resolving issues.  We can plan activities at the 2009 TDWG conference in November to resolve any issues still outstanding at that point and to hold hackathon activities to fill any gaps in our tool set.  This work also aligns well with the e-Biosphere conference's plan to develop a roadmap for biodiversity informatics for the next 10 years.

We have added a page to the TDWG Invasive Species wiki to seed discussion of what we need to do - http://wiki.tdwg.org/twiki/bin/view/InvasiveSpecies/GisinRequirements.  Please take the time to look at this page (and at the information on GISIN's requirements at http://wiki.tdwg.org/twiki/bin/view/InvasiveSpecies/WebHome and http://www.niiss.org/cwis438/websites/GISINDirectory/Tech/ProtocolSpecification.php).  Append comments and suggestions on what else we may need to do to the wiki, or simply reply to this message.  In particular, if you are interested in being involved with the relevant TDWG Interest Groups in addressing some of the listed requirements, please contact me or the relevant Interest Group leaders.

I believe this is the most significant thing that TDWG can do right now to support the work of biodiversity informatics worldwide.  Please consider making your own contribution to make it happen.

Best wishes,


[cid:736345722 at 24032009-2DA9]

Donald Hobern, Director, Atlas of Living Australia
CSIRO Entomology, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 62464352 Mobile: 0437990208
Email: Donald.Hobern at csiro.au<mailto:Donald.Hobern at csiro.au>
Web: http://www.ala.org.au/

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