9 years with Barcelona Natural Science Museum

Geolocation is a key attribute for activity in a natural science museum since cartography is present in almost all its fields of activity: collections, research, publications, exhibitions, etc. The collaboration between Geomatico and the Barcelona Natural Science Museum dates back to 2011, with the first version of Taxo&Map developed by Martí Pericay. Since then there have been many, frequent collaborations with the Museum, some of which we will highlight. All joint developments with the Museum have been published under open source licences.

Publication and use of data: Taxo&Map

The museum publishes the data from collections in repositories like GBIF, VertNet or in its own services; the special feature of Taxo&map is that it offers a different and complementary way of consulting the collections in which the data is integrated into the territory and it is possible to browse both the map and the taxonomic tree. Compared to a query made via a form, ideal for those who already know what they are looking for, map navigation allows for more speculative and curious queries.

Taxo&map is designed to export collection data and incorporate it into the user’s desktop in a very easy way. Various export formats have been provided for this purpose: CSV, KML, SHP, SVG, GeoJSON. As a logical consequence of inter-institutional collaboration, Taxo&map has also become a data publication gateway for the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA CSIC-UIB), the University of Barcelona (UB), the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (IBB) and the Valencian Museum of Natural History (MVHN), totalling more than 180,000 hits.

Management and georeferencing: APICollector

The vast majority of collection samples predate the generalisation of satellite positioning and are assigned a reference to the collection site based only on the textual data on the labels, making georeferencing a very important tool. The Museum has tools for manual georeferencing, but only 32% of the samples (58,000 of 180,000 records) contain coordinates, so APICollector was developed as an open-source mass georeferencing tool. This application makes it possible to easily associate geographical location with place names by attacking different georeferencing APIs such as Google, MapQuest or OpenCage, storing the estimated uncertainty. In addition, it can be used for taxonomy queries.

Citizen science: Fem natura!

One of the remaining challenges is to encourage citizen participation in naturalistic research and monitoring programmes for the different components of biodiversity. The website Fem natura (“We do nature”) is a web application allowing citizens to consult participatory citizen science projects so that they can easily contact the association they are most interested in or that is closest to their location.

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The facts define us