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the GiGLer

The newsletter of Greenspace Information of Greater London CIC

Springing into Action

Julie MacDonald, GiGL Data Officer

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” 
Leo Tolstoy – Anna Karenina

Tolstoy’s words were never truer than at GiGL over the last few months. As flowers and trees have finally bloomed in our late spring, so too have the projects we have worked on feverishly over the winter months. Many of our systems have been reworked and given a good spring clean so that they better meet the growing demands of our partnership and customers.

GiGL has developed a new system for data searches. You will see slight changes to the presentation and the data shown in our reports, but most of the changes are behind the scenes, making it easier for us to produce reports and provide more information in the same length of time, as well as improving the commissioning and delivery processes. Our new system for producing data files for our partner’s data exchanges is far slicker, less error prone and allows for a much greater degree of customisation. Our SINC database system is now up and running which means we can store more information about each SINC, keep track of its history and allow easier SINC analyses.

Also developed this spring is a new database system of open space data management and a new open space features and facilities dataset. Other datasets have been included in the revamp as well – we have new formats for species data and habitat data and a new urban greening features dataset. All of these changes are documented in our updated data guide, as outlined in an article here.

These developments have coincided with GiGL’s transformation into a Community Interest Company, something which has kept Mandy busy over the past six months. Mandy also gives us a recap of GiGL CIC’s Data Use Licences and what they mean. We really feel we are going from strength to strength, and what better way to let everyone know about all of the improvements than by preparing to launch our new website; an exciting development for everyone at GiGL and a great new platform to increase our contact with partners, customers and the general public. The new website will be launched alongside further developments to our online portal, iGiGL.

Despite all these new developments our day-to-day work with partners has continued un-interrupted. Brian Cuthbertson, Head of Environment and Sustainability at the Diocese of London, writes about how GiGL have been involved in their Churchyards Ecology Survey; Peter Harvey, President of the Essex Field Club, tells us about the past and present of the Club and how they are working with us; and Karen gives us an update from LISI. The summer is a great time for biological recording. GiGL can not only help with inputting and analysing data after summer recording events, such as Bioblitzes, but can also be of assistance in the run up to such events. Chloe tells us more.

All the hard work behind the scenes has not prevented us attending our usual meetings and events, as well as representing the partnership at workshops. I write about one such workshop run by the London Geodiversity Partnership I attended at the beginning of the year. GiGL also had the honour of holding a table at a special National Biodiversity Network celebratory event, where we were one of a very few records centres invited to display. The event, “A quarter of a billion records project – celebrating the present, looking to the future” commended the roles that organisations play within the NBN and showcased the tools the network has developed. GiGL’s display was on invasive species data management.

What better way to round up a newsletter filled with celebration than with a piece that pays tribute to one of our strongest partnerships. Nigel Reeve, The Royal Park’s Head of Ecology, tells us the success stories of their collaboration with GiGL over the past five years.

We hope this and all our collaborations will continue to thrive thanks to all the hard work of the GiGL team and our partners.

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