The US Conservation Biology Institute has launched a new website called Data Basin, which uses Esri’s GIS technology to help conservationists share data.
Data Basin is an online system that connects users with spatial datasets, tools, and a network of scientists and practitioners.
James Strittholt, executive director of the Conservation Biology Institute, said that mapping plays an integral part in successfully addressing many of today's conservation challenges.
“Whether it is planning for wildlife connections across a human-dominated landscape, designing strategies to minimise or offset new human infrastructure like roads and pipelines, or developing forest management plans that significantly lower the impact on native species and protect water resources, mapping is fundamental to finding solutions to these issues,” he said.
Data Basin is based on six major building blocks—datasets, maps, galleries, people, groups, and tools.
Users can explore and download a library of datasets, connect to external data sources, upload and publish their own datasets, connect to experts, create working groups, and produce customised maps that can be easily shared.
Datasets are spatially explicit files, currently shapefiles and ArcGrid files, with other formats such as image files and geodatabases to be incorporated soon.
More than 1,000 datasets are currently in the Data Basin warehouse and can be used to build maps that can then be kept private, shared with groups, or made public.
Users can critique maps with provided drawing and commenting tools.
The system is integrated with social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and has incorporated RSS feeds throughout the site for easy topic or item monitoring by users.