the GiGLer

The newsletter of Greenspace Information of Greater London CIC

News – Issue 3

GiGL online

www.GiGL.org.uk is now live and already in use by GiGL’s partners and customers. One of the many outputs of last year’s successful Defra/National Biodiversity Network funded project, the website provides a portal for London biodiversity and open space information.

Visitors to the website can view existing data at a generalised resolution through the ‘What’s In My Back Yard’ (WIMBY) pages. Once you have registered as a user of the website you can gain access to a range of additional functions; you can tell us about the wildlife you have spotted in London, request data search reports, and if you’re a GiGL partner, gain access to data at full resolution.

Currently, data can be submitted in one of two ways. If you generate a lot of records, the simplest means of submitting them to GiGL is to use the bespoke spreadsheet on our website’s downloads page. This can be filled in and regularly emailed to GiGL to be imported into the main database. If your observations are less frequent you can use the submit form online. We have also developed an online recording form for a schools’ wildlife survey run by The London Borough of Harrow and, in collaboration with our partners, we are developing further ways to submit data online.

WIMBY was originally developed by Scottish Natural Heritage as a means of displaying data on their website using the technology of the National Biodiversity Network’s Gateway (www.searchnbn.net/). Our project has further developed WIMBY to display records over Google Maps, provide links to further species information on ARKive (www.arkive.org/), and link back to the interactive mapping on the Gateway. The data that are returned come from both the GiGL partnership and national schemes and societies. WIMBY interrogates a live database over the internet and, at the last estimate, had access to approximately one million records for London.

Our expanding partnership

The GiGL partnership increased from 20 organisations in the 2006/07 financial year to 29 at the beginning of the current financial year. The increase covers both service level agreements and data custodianship agreements, and includes London boroughs, the London Biodiversity Partnership, Transport for London, the Royal Parks, Zoological Society for London and the Ecology Consultancy Ltd. The full list of GiGL’s current partners is on the back page of this newsletter. Links to all of the partners’ websites can be found on our website.

A right royal recorder

In March, we welcomed Ian Woodward to the GiGL team as our Royal Parks Officer, based in Richmond Park. Ian’s role involves working closely with the GiGL team and with the Royal Parks ecology and IT sections to implement data management systems that mirror GiGL’s own systems. This will involve cataloguing existing datasets, prioritising them and then undertaking the data entry work on both Recorder and MapInfo GIS. It’s a really exciting contract for GiGL which will significantly increase the data available to our partners and customers.

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