Julie Cox, GiGL Data Officer
Local records centres provide a vitally important regional resource of ecological evidence, but working for a records centre isn’t just about collating and managing records. We get involved in a wide range of London projects where we represent the GiGL partnership and its data, and provide a suite of interpreted data products. GiGL have been involved in some fantastic projects this year.
Did you know that 47% of London is green space? That we have 142 Local Nature Reserves, about 3,000 public open spaces and over 13,000 species? Guerilla geographer Dan Raven-Ellison did, and it’s motivated him to inspire Londoners to view the capital as their very own National Park. Whilst GiGL remains neutral on whether Greater London should be designated as a National Park, we enjoyed being able to support Queen Mary University students to reimagine London’s green spaces by producing open space maps for the project. The maps received some brilliant publicity too which was great.
One of the largest environmental projects undertaken in the capital this autumn was the i-Tree survey, co-ordinated by the Forestry Commission. This used a vast volunteer work force to survey trees in over 700 randomly selected plots to calculate the economic value of the services they supply to Londoners. GiGL was acutely involved in the project; from determining survey locations, to creating and hosting an online form, to collating the survey data.
Another London-wide project which launched this year is the B-Line for London. GiGL are a crucial partner in the project, providing a suite of advanced map products to help determine the location of the B-Line. Caroline Birchall of the Bee Collective tells us more.
Whilst projects like the two mentioned above use a number of GiGL’s datasets, some concentrate on only our partnership’s species data. Karen Harper, London’s Invasive Species Manager, is always on the lookout for new invasive species appearing in the capital. She tells us about a new Ludwigia species and why it required immediate action. Student Gianfranco Gliozzo has been studying GiGL’s species data holdings to analyse the contribution of volunteer records versus professional surveys; searching for any temporal and spatial patterns hidden within the data. Whilst his results aren’t yet in, we’re very interested in Gianfranco’s study and what it may reveal about attitudes to nature in London.
GiGL contributes to many partner and customer projects by providing valuable facts and figures, whether to support decision making or to provide striking illustrations. There are some fantastic examples of where our partners have put these to great use and, importantly, have credited the GiGL partnership as their source.
A slightly different set of figures have been provided to Companies House this year to celebrate GiGL CIC’s first anniversary. Our annual report will be available from the Companies House website. A few non-financial figures are worth highlighting. Between March 2013 and March 2014, GiGL staff attended over 100 regional and national meetings and delivered nearly 1,000 individual projects to partners and customers; facilitating informed decisions about London’s natural environment. 722 data search reports were produced, including for 26 new clients, and 14 free of charge for members of the public. Not bad for a relatively small team of people.
October saw the 3 millionth record entered into the GiGL database. This included an impressive half a million new records entered in our third financial quarter.
These new records included a lot of flying wildlife; birds and moths from the London Natural History Society, bats from the London Bat Group and butterflies from the Hertfordshire and Midldlesex branch of Butterfly Conservation. As GiGL doesn’t own most of the data we manage it’s important that all our recorders trust us to manage the data as agreed. Maria Longley discusses this issue and provides an overview of how GiGL is playing a part in national data management discussions.
The GiGL team began the autumn with an excellent day birding; led by one of our directors, David Darrell-Lambert. It’s a rare treat for us all to enjoy a day outdoors together and was a great opportunity for us to hone our bird identification skills and appreciation for the techniques involved in bird recording. Highlights included a wheatear, common sandpiper, sparrow hawk and even the flash of a kingfisher; proof that London is a fantastic place for finding wildlife on your doorstep! David is our third GiGL director to undergo our newsletter interview.