Advances in component C5.31 Application for distribution maps: Upload and display of user point data

An essential part of EDIT Work Package 5.4 (Geospatial Component) is the development of a free available and easy to use tool able to produce maps for those taxonomists not experienced in the use of GIS programs. Geographic information is nowadays an important part of the information associated with any collected or observed specimen, and this information constitutes an important source of data for basic and applied purposes. At present, this web based application is free available in the EDIT Geoplatform mapViewer ( for the use of all taxonomist community. To divulgate its existence, this text is also published in the new issue of the EDIT Newletter (

The current system allows the insertion of user information (point species data) in a comma-separated-values text file format (CSV extension) and must contain at least Latitude and Longitude fields in decimal degrees, with datum WGS 84 (the GBIF standard). To upload a data file, user should: i) explore her computer to find and select the data file, ii) choose the desired context/extent (World, Europe, Iberian Peninsula, ...), iii) write a user identification code (user name, for example), and iv) indicate the total number of fields in the data file, and the position of the Latitude and Longitude fields. More information some examples can be downloaded from EDIT Geoplatform web available at

Once the data file is uploaded, the user can compose their own map selecting the desired map projection within each context/extent (for example, a conic projection for the case of Europe), the GIS layers to be displayed as background (surface units and/or environmental variables), and then choose the symbol size, type and colour of the user points.

This application is under a constant development and we hope to offer as soon as possible the possibility of applying a taxonomic filter (for example: “show me only X and Y Genera”). This functionality is already shown in the Demo currently available (Sample Point Data). The following next steps to develop have been commented in the report entitled Do we need to estimate inventory completeness? Utility and drawbacks of modelling techniques for biodiversity databases mining, available at As most part of the available distributional and taxonomical information is scarce and predictive models need good data, further extensions of the application will try to include a tool to assess the completeness of inventories and another one to design the environmental and spatial coverage of the territories that need to be surveyed to optimize the coverage of data on biodiversity patterns. To give an idea of these functions a Demo can be seen at

Simple calculations such as the "number of records per region" may give an idea of how much information has been collected in certain areas. If such information is included in a map the message becomes clearer. The comparison between the number of records and the taxonomic richness (number of different taxa) in each region gives a first measure of inventory uncertainty in each polygon: the simple ratio number of taxa / number of records.

More complex measures of inventory uncertainty in each polygon are calculated from the collector’s curves (also called accumulation curves or rarefaction curves). The collector’s curve represents the number of taxa (y-axis) that is obtained when the number of records (x-axis) increases. This type of measures are based not only on the total number of taxa and the total number of records, but also on the relative frequencies of the different taxa. The slope value at the end of the curve is a suitable measure of inventory uncertainty, representing the mean effort dedicated to discover the last taxon found in each surface unit. A graphic of the complete collector’s curves, correspounding to the data used in the Demo about analysis of spatial completeness mentioned before, can be found at:

The maps of inventory uncertainty indicates the “red” surface units where is necessary to carry on additional surveys in order to recover the spatial variation of the area, or where data on absences should be recorded. A review of the available scientific information on the possibilities and usefulness of the compiled species distribution data for basic and applied purposes is available for download at:

We invite you to visit regularly the EDIT Geoplatform Viewer ( and test the developed tools. Any comment, suggestion…will be welcome.