Date:Mon, 25 Sep 2006 11:17:48 +0100
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]Sender:Biological Conservation and GIS <[log in to unmask]>
From:Frank Biasi <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:Introducing the Conservation Geoportal! - ConservationMaps.org
Introducing the Conservation Geoportal! - www.conservationmaps.org
The Conservation Geoportal is a new metadata catalog for discovering and
publishing information about GIS data sets, maps, and map services. It has
been designed specifically for the conservation field, and is intended to
cover all conservation geographies and themes. It includes a generic map
viewer for displaying and combining standard map services, allowing live
maps to be easily saved and shared.
The Geoportal is a shared community resource, the success of which depends
on content provided by users. Anyone can publish metadata to the Geoportal
for search and discovery. Selected metadata records are highlighted in
"channels" to allow quick browsing by topic or institution. Channel Stewards
are currently being recruited to design and populate channels, so if you
want to help edit a channel, please indicate your interest using the Join
option or Feedback link.
What is it?
The Conservation Geoportal is an online catalog of conservation data and
maps. It makes it fast and easy to discover and publish information about
conservation-related maps and GIS data from different organizations. It also
supports basic GIS mapping and data management tasks over the Web.
Conservation Geoportal 1.0 provides the following capabilities:
. Discover and access conservation maps and geographic data online
. Display and combine live web maps with the built-in Map Viewer
. Design, save and share live maps with colleagues, partners and donors
. Publish descriptions and links to your data and maps
. Register other catalogs and clearinghouses for search and discovery
Note that the Conservation Geoportal does not store maps and GIS data, but
rather, descriptions and links to maps and data served by various
organizations (i.e. metadata). Thus, data publishers control the access,
use and currency of the data and maps they make accessible through the
Why was it created?
Its primary purpose is to help disseminate and leverage the vast amounts of
GIS data and maps that are scattered and sequestered across thousands of
organizations and individuals around the world. The Geoportal includes links
to data and maps covering all geographies and conservation topics, including
those in terrestrial, marine and freshwater environments.
Its goal is to make this valuable information easily accessible to
conservation scientists, planners, managers and educators to achieve their
missions. It can also be used by governments and corporations to help plan
and sustainably manage activities using the best available environmental
The Geoportal is an initial phase in the development of a Conservation
Basemap that will include core conservation datalayers, collaboratively
developed, managed and peer reviewed. These data will be used to develop
conservation atlases and data services for education, research and
decisionmaking. For more information see
The Geoportal is designed to be a shared resource for the Conservation
community, to help minimize the creation and maintenance of redundant data
catalogs and map viewers. So, if you are considering developing your own
data catalog or map viewer, you should evaluate the Conservation Geoportal
as a possible solution that can save your resources for other purposes.
What are Channels and Channel Stewards?
The Geoportal contains hundreds of metadata records describing a wide
variety of maps and data. Users can search and filter these records by
keywords, geography, data formats, or time period. Alternatively, they can
browse "channels" to quickly access the best data and maps for a specific
conservation topic, region or organization.
Current channels include:
. Conservation Areas
. Environmental Factors
. Base Map Layers
. Data Providers
. What's New
These channels contain subchannels, subcategories and sections to organize
links to the data and maps associated with that topic. Channels are managed
and organized by Channel Stewards, who are individuals or teams of
individuals knowledgeable about a particular topic, especially the data and
map services available for it. Channel Stewards discover the best data and
map services in their topic, encourage data providers to post metadata for
their data and maps, organize channel structure, and link metadata records
to the channel.
Who develops and maintains it?
The Conservation Geoportal is collaboratively developed and maintained by an
expanding group of non-governmental organizations, government agencies and
corporate partners, under the principles and auspices of the Conservation
The site is currently developed and hosted by ESRI, with initial funding
from The Nature Conservancy, National Geographic Society, UNEP-World
Conservation Monitoring Centre, Conservation International, and ESRI. You
can learn more about the partners and the Conservation Commons by visiting
the Geoportal and clicking About this Site.
How can I participate?
The Conservation Geoportal is a new tool for the entire Conservation
community. As such, it depends on the community and its supporters to use
and contribute to it.
You are invited to participate in the following ways:
. Use the site to find data and maps
. Publish descriptions and links to your data and maps
. Provide feedback to improve the site
. Discuss and promote the site
. Help others publish their maps and data
. Become a Channel Steward
. Donate funds or in-kind resources
If you are interested in becoming a Channel Steward or contributing to the
Conservation Geoportal in other ways, please visit www.conservationmaps.org
and click Feedback.
Finally, this is the initial public release of the site, so please bear with
us and let us know if you experience significant delays or errors.
Happy mapping, publishing, and data discovery!
-The Conservation Geoportal Team
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