Issue 7 |  September 2020

 A view from the helm

Hi all,

It is an understatement that 2020 has been a year of significant change and heartbreak for many of us. However, it is also a time of even greater need and expectation for reliable data and evidence to meet the biggest challenge of our lifetime. This imperative is just as relevant for environmental data.

On our journey of continual improvement for BioNet, we wanted to share some major enhancements to get BioNet ready to accommodate the major upgrade of Eastern NSW Plant Community Type (PCT) data. A key part of this work has been the release of the BioNet flora survey data via web data services and also providing accessibility in SEED.

In response to your valuable feedback, we have published the first in a series of video tutorials to help users navigate the supply and extraction of data within BioNet systems.

Other key projects in the pipeline for 2020-21 are aimed at delivering benefits for our NSW users through national collaboration in biodiversity field data capture and national supply chain.

Please enjoy the latest newsletter from the BioNet team.

Jeremy Black | Director Remote Sensing and Landscape Science

> The BioNet Enhancement Project (3.2) covered three system releases in early 2020 to ensure that BioNet is ready to accommodate the major upgrade of Eastern NSW Plant Community Type (PCT) data. The new classification has been developed and when released early next year, will provide a more clearly discriminated vegetation community classification that will support improved PCT identification for ecological assessors. This will see transition to a more robust, quantitative PCT typology that is derived directly from full floristic survey plots. For details about each of the enhancements and how they affect you, refer to each of the Release Notes below;
  • In January 2020, the first round of enhancements were made to BioNet Atlas and BioNet Vegetation Classification systems, most notably changes to the PCT data maintenance including upload and data analysis features. Refer to BioNet 3.2.3 Release notes.
  • The second round of changes in March 2020, included development of a new systematic flora survey web service as well as modification to existing web services. Major changes included the spatial intersect of flora survey sites against key environmental layers, forming part of the environmental envelope definition for the new Eastern PCTs. Refer to BioNet 3.2.4 Release notes.
  • In June 2020, enhancements to registration and reporting features were rolled out. Refer to BioNet 3.2.5 Release notes.

> Concurrent with Release 3.2.4 was the publication of the first version of the BioNet Systematic Flora Survey web service. Refer to the Flora Survey Web Service data standard.
BioNet Atlas systematic flora survey plots are now available in SEED.

Plots can be viewed on the interactive map with details on location, observer and date of survey. Plots that have been used in the Eastern NSW PCT Classification also display the PCT ID and PCT Name. These now act as reeference plots. SEED gives you the ability to conveniently search, query and export  reference plots for the new Eastern NSW PCTs.

To see how you can easily search by PCT, or a specific location, watch this video tutorial.
Need some help contributing your species sightings to BioNet Atlas?

We have created some video tutorials to provide an overview and highlight a few tips and tricks to get you on your way. This is the first in a suite of video tutorials on various aspects of contributing to, and extracting information from, BioNet systems.

Check out the first set of videos on contributing your species sighting records.
Did you know?

The BioNet web services are like a pipeline conveying data from the BioNet databases - ready for app developers and others to consume. You too can tap into this data stream using refreshable data queries (Power Queries) built into Excel spreadsheets.
Our library of pre-configured Power Queries has grown and now includes two exciting new Power Queries;
These allow you to access up-to-date association data using a variety of filters, including the threatened entity name and ProfileID, PCT Name and PCTID, IBRA region and subregion, Vegetation Class and Formation etc.

All our pre-configured Power Queries are available for download from the BioNet resources webpage. Additional information on the BioNet Web Services, including a guide to developing your own power queries is available on the BioNet Web Services webpage.
Data project updates

Citizen Science Hub launch

We are very pleased to announce that the new SEED Citizen Science Hub has launched. The hub is a one-stop-shop for citizen scientists in NSW to explore, connect and contribute with projects, people and data.
It has been co-designed with citizen scientists, for citizen scientists to support and grow citizen science in NSW, improve the quality, aggregation and availability of citizen science data and facilitate communication of the real impact citizen science can have. Data gained through the efforts of citizen scientists can be as valuable as those obtained by scientists working in research institutions, natural history collections, government agencies and industry. The hub will harness the enthusiasm, interest and efforts of citizen scientists to enrich the range and depth of data available, to be used as part of the rigorous evidence base for scientific and government decision making.

By contributing wildlife data to BioNet, citizen science projects gain duel benefits; the project's growing species record list can be mapped and displayed, while their valuable data is immediately available for use in government planning and assessment programs.
Check out the SEED Citizen Science Hub.
If you would like to find out more or if you have a project you would like us to showcase on the hub, please contact the SEED Citizen Science team.

State Vegetation Type Mapping Project Modelling data collection

Environmental modelling layers used in the State Vegetation Type Mapping (SVTM) Project's modelling process are now discoverable in SEED. This project maps Plant Community Types (PCTs) at the regional scale making use of high resolution imagery and latest modelling techniques.

Three of the environmental variable layers (rainfall, elevation and temperature) have been incorporated into BioNet where they are intersected against flora plots and to provide new environmental envelopes for the Eastern NSW PCTs.

Check out the SVTM Project Modelling data collection here. Then refer to the 'Related Datasets' tab to access individual environmental layers.

More datasets are being added later in 2020.

Pilot Biodiversity Field Data Collection system

National collaboration to establish a national biodiversity data ecosystem is continuing. Over the past two years we have been working with Western Australian partners to develop a new biodiversity system called BioSys. We have now completed a successful phase 1 pilot where we implemented BioSys as a  single species observation and survey tool in NSW for koalas. The mobile app, 'I Spy Koala' is now available.

BioSys acts as a staging database for delivery of data into BioNet. In 2020-21 we are hoping to extend this collaboration to work with Federal Government and industry partners in a proof of concept trial. We hope to configure BioSys to support the seamless field capture and supply of Biodiversity Assessment Method survey data to NSW BioSys, BioNet and on to a national installation of BioSys.

National biodiversity data supply chain

Several projects are proposed for 2020-22 to improve the national data supply chain including development of national data standards for exchange of ecological survey data (including time series monitoring data) and a nationally agreed approach to the supply of sensitive species data to service initiatives like the Collaborative Species Distribution Modelling program that will deliver high quality modelling products to support operational and assessment activities in NSW.

For more information on any of the updates, please contact the BioNet team.
Copyright © 2020 DPIE BioNet, All rights reserved.
Banner photo: The vulnerable Dusky woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus cyanopterus), photo credit Michael Todd

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