Who has data and maps?
Have you noticed that half of the postings to this forum are requests for
data? Clearly, data discovery and access are a core need of our
community. Fortunately, the Conservation Geoportal now provides an
efficient way to fulfill this need.
The Conservation Geoportal - www.conservationmaps.org - was announced last
September. Since then, over 300 users have registered and nearly 1000
metadata records have been posted, covering a range of conservation
topics, geographies, and organizations. This is a good start, but is only
a fraction of the potential GIS datasets, maps, and publishers relevant to
conservation. So, we are issuing a renewed call for content to help
populate the catalog.
If you have (or know about) data, maps, or map services relevant to
conservation, please carve out a few minutes to create and post metadata
records for them using the online form. If you already have metadata (in
ISO or FGDC XML format), simply upload the files, or tell us where they
reside in an existing online metadata repository (WAF, OAI, CSW, ArcIMS,
or Z39.50). We are especially interested in links to live map services,
which can be viewed and mashed up in the Geoportal's Map Viewer.
If we all register a few maps or datasets, and/or encourage others to post
their metadata, it will add a lot of useful content to the Conservation
Commons and greatly increase data sharing and integration across our
community. This should result in better conservation science,
decisionmaking, and education.
What is the Conservation Geoportal?
In case you are not aware of it, the Conservation Geoportal is a new
metadata catalog for discovering and publishing information about
conservation-related 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 (natural and cultural). It also
includes a simple map viewer for displaying and mashing-up standard map
services, allowing interactive maps to be easily created, saved, and
The Geoportal has the following capabilities:
- Discover and access conservation maps and geographic data online
- Display and combine live web maps with the built-in Map Viewer
- Customize, save, and share live maps through permanent URLs and context
- Define and save advanced searches that combine thematic and geographic
- Publish descriptions and links to your data and maps
- Register other catalogs and clearinghouses for discovery through the
It is important to note that the Geoportal does not store data and map
files or host map services. It simply stores metadata records that
describe and link to resources that reside elsewhere online (or offline,
but available on request). Thus, map and data publishers have complete
control over how their resources are described, accessed, and licensed.
Moreover, data, maps, and services can exist in any format (.SHP, .MIF,
.KML, WMS...) or database schema.
The power of the Geoportal lies in the ability of users to quickly find
and evaluate data and maps for any conservation topic or geography and to
provide a convenient, high-profile place for anyone to publish their maps
If the metadata describe and link to a standard map service (ArcIMS, WMS,
WFS) the data can be streamed into the Geoportal's Map Viewer, mashed-up
with data from other map services, and saved and shared for future use.
Help us manage channels and shape the Conservation Geoportal
We are currently recruiting Channel Stewards to help manage the content of
channels and serve on our Editorial Team. Channels (listed on the right
side of the home page) allow quick browsing by conservation topic or
institution. Channels contain links to the best maps and datasets
available for that topic or institution. They complement the Geoportal's
general search capabilities by providing a curated and organized list of
resources. Let us know if you are interested in helping to steward a
channel, or have suggestions for channel content.
If the Geoportal gets used by our community, additional resources will be
invested to enhance it, including adding channels for GIS models and
tools, user review and rating functions, RSS feeds, etc... We are also
working to identify hosting services for groups that do not have a server
to store and publish their files and map services. Please use the Feedback
link to offer suggestions or get help.
So, if you use other people's data or want your data to be used by others
for conservation purposes, please spend some time on the Conservation
Geoportal, publish metadata, and participate in the Conservation Commons!
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Pete August, [log in to unmask]