Ella Vogel, NBN Secretariat
Of the hundreds of thousands of biological records collected by environmental consultants and other ecological professionals, only a very small number are shared beyond the commissioning agency. This is due in part to the lack of a standard sharing process. Working in association with CIEEM (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management) and ALERC (Association of Local Environmental Records Centres) the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) has created the consultants portal to address this.
Designed specifically for professional recorders, the consultants portal is an online tool to share and manage biological records. The portal has embedded tools to simplify many time consuming data management tasks. Consultants can collaborate on projects, view and download maps of records, and download summary tables of records. Datasets can be allocated bespoke data licenses that provide clear information about how each record can be used by third parties. Registration with the consultants portal is free and is suitable for consultancies of all sizes. It will help those with CIEEM accreditation to achieve their duty to make scientific data available to others.
All records submitted to the portal are verified and transferred to the NBN Gateway, a UK-wide database that currently holds over 112 million biological records. Local environmental records centres and biological recording schemes will be able to access these records from the NBN Gateway for use within their work to support research, education and decision-making.
The consultants portal will ensure that the wealth of biological information collected each day by ecologists and environmental consultants is captured and shared. Much of this would otherwise be lost in client reports or on private databases. Every record is valuable, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the UK’s biodiversity and ensuring conservation efforts and research are accurate and informed, and ensuring targeted, efficient work. With the consultants portal, records centres and their users will benefit from having access to records that would not otherwise have been available to them.
Ella Vogel is the Interim Data and Liaison Officer for the NBN Secretariat. Ella started working for the Secretariat in June 2015 and her work to date has largely focused on the development and implementation of the consultants portal.