Overview of current work in WP5.4

WP5.4 : a quick overview of who is doing what now, and how it fits together in the broader picture.

The central part in WP5.4 are the "geographic tools", providing taxonomists with an online platform for their daily work : processingdata, visualising data, preparing their publications. The interface should be very user-friendly, so people can use it regardless of their computer skills.

The most visible tool here is CSIC (Pere) work : the Geoplatform Mapviewer for data visualisation.


Play around with it, and you'll discover the (many) possibilities it
offers :

  • upload your own data as a comma-separated-value file
  • change the symbolisation of your different data sets (e.g. different species, different colours)
  • an online GIS tool, with possibility to add background layers, and clicking your data points for more info
  • add external WMS layers
  • download your maps as images (.png, .jpeg, colour/greyscale)

(See also the C5.65 report "Point occurrence map generation webservice".)
So already it offers a nice, useful tool for online map-making.

Pere gets support and feedback from the other institutions through the dev-edit mailing list.
In particular, we noticed that there was some unclarity about the specifications for the "print ready" and "publication ready" maps mentioned in the components (C5.65, C5.66, C5.67), so we decided to clear that out.
On the dev-list, a discussion has started and MIZPAN (Dominik) will further coordinate it so a clear overall picture will come out of it, resulting in the M5.28 report (update : final draft of this report has already been posted to the developer's list).

In addition to the MapViewer, there is the CSIC service to download GIS layers:
Here you can find a lot of useful GIS layers (surface units, environmental variables, species distributions), only some of which are shown in the Map Viewer.

A user frontend to the Mapviewer's webservices is being developed by BGBM (Patricia K, Andreas K, Andreas M) working on a portal (TOTO portal). This frontend will tap into the Mapviewer services and present the results in a standard way to the user through a GBIF-ish portal. Together with CSIC, the technical parameters for connecting Mapviewer
and Toto portal are defined.

On the backend, work focusses on gathering and preparing testing data, most notably ATBI data. The ATBI data are crucial in the geotools development, as (naturaly) we want the tools to be able to serve the ATBI needs in the long term. SMNS (Christophe Hauser) is providing ATBI data for testing, through an ABCD tool being developed by BGBM (Joerg Holetschek). IBSAS (Dusan Senko) is closely cooperating with BGBM and SMNS on ATBI data cleaning and preparing. CUB (Eduard Stloukal) has been constructing a website portal for their ATBI data.

As an outreach to WP8 (training), RMCA (Bart) will be providing a GIS Summer School (september 2008) in Mercantour/Alpi Maritimi (an ATBI site), currently being organised by Kim Jacobsen (RMCA) and RBINS.  Participants will be introduced to EDIT, to the WP5.4 work, and the ATBI field methods - using the SMNS templates for field data recording.   

In the longer term (from 2009 on), we'd love to see GBIF data imported directly into the Geoplatform tools.  For this, we will further develop a tool that was made some time ago for
the SYNTHESYS project : the Generic Query Tool or GQT (http://synthesys.africamuseum.be/GQT.html). This tool can connect to, and query data from, any DiGIR, TAPIR and BioCase provider (and so GBIF and other providers). This work is stated in the C5.72 component (July

In connection with the Geoplatform, another SYNTHESYS webservice is interesting : the Itinerary Tool or ItinTool for short (http://synthesys.africamuseum.be/itin/home.html). This tool looks for
probable expedition itineraries within point datasets, for data cleaning. This service could be offered within the Geoplatform. Even more interesting for WP5.4 are its input and output capabilities : the ItinTool takes in a wide range of data formats : KML (Google Earth), GPX
(GPS offload format), CSV (simple comma separated files) and GML (Geographical Markup Language). Output is through a WMS (Web Map Service).
As the Geoplatform Mapviewer tool can take in data from external WMS servers, the ItinTool could provide an easy way for using KML, GML and GPX formatted data - in addition to Mapviewer's CSV format. First test have already been successfull, as described in the C5.65 report.

Further testing of the GQT and the ItinTool is necessary, and HNHM is kindly providing datasets for this.

Further work

The most pressing matter now is getting the "publication and print quality" maps right, and the work on the technical parameters connecting Mapviewer and Toto portal. Preparing the ATBI data, and connecting it through the ABCD tool, is another very important part.

Also, we really need taxonomists' feedback on the tools we are developing : this is a task for all institutions (it doesn't take much more than some informal talks with your institution's scientists, and showing them the tools). This information will be bundled for C5.41, documenting the webapplications from a user (taxonomist) view.