Hi Ariane, thanks for your time. To start, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I've spent 10 years working in hotel management and 10 years as a computer programmer and project manager. Since 2005 I've worked in environmental consulting. During my Masters in Environmental Science I specialised in remote sensing and GIS. I love the challenge of combining my IT skills with environmental consulting.
What information are you generally trying to extract from BioNet Vegetation Classification and why?
I have been an accredited Biobanking assessor since 2009. Biobanking assessments and GIS comprise the majority of my work. Most of my data requirements are therefore linked to Biobanking assessments such as PCT identification, benchmarks and TECs.
Have there been any hurdles to obtaining this information?
Before Web Services, obtaining data was time consuming and tedious. I kept forgetting my password (since it is autogenerated only), got timed-out all day and had trouble finding the data I was looking for. As an example, % cleared values are buried deep at the bottom of a scrollable list within a scrollable page.
How have you overcome this?
I have created my own BioNet Power Queries, accessing all available Web Service databases, depending on the purpose. The most common ones are PCTBenchmarks, PCTGrowthForms, SpeciesNames and ThreatenedBiodiversity_Species.
How have you found using the Power Queries?
Fabulous! I cannot believe what a time saver Power Queries are! If a Likelihood-of-Occurrence table took 8 hours before, it will take 1 hour with a specifically designed Excel spreadsheet using Power Queries. The three biggest advantages are time savings, elimination of mistakes (such as typos, old data, data entry errors) and ownership (no responsibility or maintenance). If there is a down-side, it might be that some consultants might not be interested in designing their own Excel formulas to access the data. So, providing Power Queries fit for purpose is a great idea!
Are there any more Power Queries you'd like to see developed in the future?
Five BioNet Queries are available on the BioNet website. I made some additional ones available on my Google Drive for people to download. What could be useful in the future is a Quick-BioNet-Atlas-Access Power Query, where a user could pick a species, such as Koala, and an LGA or IBRA subregion and get all the BioNet Atlas records. Maybe some prototypes could be published where users can comment and provide additional requests?
Response from BioNet team: These are great suggestions and we really appreciate that you've shared them and your time with us.
We encourage all users to feed back with other Power Query suggestions and ideas. Don't forget to complete the BioNet Customer Satisfaction Survey 2019.