NBN Atlas update – February 2017

Time is running out – Complete and return your Data Partner Agreement and assign a data licence

In January, we provided further clarification on the transfer of data from the NBN Gateway to the NBN Atlas.  In this, we reiterated that the deadline for data submissions to the NBN Gateway for data to be transferred from the NBN Gateway to the NBN Atlas on your behalf is Tuesday 28th February 2017. Thank you to those of you who have now signed and returned your Data Partner Agreements. For those who have not yet done so, there is still time, but it’s only three weeks until the final deadline.

It is essential that all datasets have an associated Creative Commons licence, please ensure that a licence is chosen on your completed Data Partner Agreement. If you have not received a request to complete a Data Partner Agreement, they have been sent to the named dataset administrator for the NBN Gateway, so please check there in the first instance. Please contact us for an Agreement form if you haven’t received one.

You will be able to submit data directly to the NBN Atlas from March 2017 and the full process for submission will be publicised in due course.

NBN Atlas User testing

When the NBN Atlas goes live on 1st April we will have a functioning biological data infrastructure that matches, but does not necessarily replicate, the functionality of the NBN Gateway.  This is just the first step in building a new infrastructure to meet the wants and needs of the whole Network. Once we have the core functionality in place, further development of the NBN Atlas will be progressed with greater involvement of our partners and stakeholders.

The next step in the countdown to 1st April is to undertake user testing of the NBN Atlas and this is now underway.  The first stage started this week with testing within the development team and NBN Secretariat. From 8th March it will be open to those who signed up to be part of the user testing group.  Please let us know if you want to be part of this group by emailing support@nbn.org.uk  The more people that get involved, the more thorough the feedback will be, so please do sign up if you have chance.  We will be issuing a checklist for the testing soon.

Testing will continue until 15th March and feedback is welcome at any point.

Designation lists

The species designation lists that were previously held on the NBN Gateway have all be transferred over to the NBN Atlas. These lists can be updated by the NBN Secretariat, or by members of the Network who have been given the appropriate permissions. If you would like to take on the responsibility to maintain a specific list, or if you would like to suggest other designation lists that should be available via the NBN Atlas, then please get in touch via support@nbn.org.uk with details.

Historic data

Information will be available shortly. 

Spatial layers

The NBN Atlas project team is currently working on sourcing and processing the spatial layers that will be available in the NBN Atlas.  The NBN Atlas core steering group has recently confirmed their priority subjects for inclusion in the Atlas by the end of March 2017.  These are:

  • All EUNIS Habitat Maps from Surveys (EMODNet)
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Character Areas (England)
  • Conservation Areas
  • Country Parks
  • Environmentally Sensitive Areas
  • Habitat Map of Scotland
  • Heritage Coasts
  • Lakes in the UK
  • Landscape Character Assessment
  • Local Environmental Records Centre Boundaries of the UK
  • Local Nature Reserves
  • Marine Conservation Zones
  • National Nature Reserves
  • National Parks
  • National Vegetation Classification (NVC)
  • Natural Heritage Futures Zones
  • Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas
  • Phase 2 habitat layers
  • RAMSAR (Wetlands of International Importance)
  • Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • Special areas of conservation
  • Special protection areas

Layers will be uploaded in batches with a view to having the layers listed above in the spatial portal by the end of March this year, subject to availability.   In addition to these layers, and as a result of creating the Atlas of Living Scotland pilot project, additional layers are already visible in the portal.  They include:

  • Watsonian vice-county boundaries [with 0, 3 and 12 mile buffers]
  • Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve boundaries
  • The 1:250,000 National Soils Map of Scotland
  • EUNIS Land Cover map of Scotland
  • Ancient Woodland Inventory (Scotland)
  • UK Political boundaries & World base map
  • Ordnance Survey National Grid at 100k, 50k and 10k
  • Geomorphology of the Cairngorms
  • Landscape Character Assessment of the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park

We are  also continuing to complete the metadata for all the spatial layers.  After the end of March 2017 we will continue to develop the subjects covered in the spatial portal to ensure that they meet the needs of NBN Atlas users.  If you have any questions or comments about the spatial portal please contact us at support@nbn.org.uk

NBN Programmer has started

We are delighted that Duncan Rowland has joined the team as the NBN Atlas Programmer as of 7th February.  

Duncan, who is looking forward to working for the NBN in this exciting role, has most recently been the Reader in Cultural Computing at the University of Lincoln. Here, his research focused on computing in the arts, engaging in a creative practice that explored the human condition via relationships with digital devices and more traditional media. He has previously worked as an experimental psychologist, a software developer in the games industry and a human-computer interaction researcher. He has published over 60 scholarly articles with recent collaborations featuring in the Transmediale arts festival, the RHS Flower Shows in Chelsea and Hampton Court, (winning Golds and Best in Show respectively). He has recently added to his technical expertise through the completion of a Masters Degree in Fine Art at the University of Lincoln for which he was awarded a Distinction and the best student award.

In his role as Programmer for the NBN Atlas, some of the areas Duncan will be working on include:

  • Web Services and APIs
  • URL transfer
  • Technical helpdesk support
  • FAQ development
  • NBN Forum technical support
  • Translate exchange format
  • Data upload
  • EasyMaps
  • Verification terms upload
  • Scripts
  • Metadata form updates

You can contact Duncan at d.rowland@nbn.org.uk 

Other NBN Atlas work

In our start of year NBN Atlas update we said that the following projects would be undertaken in January.  We have indicated below the status of these:

  • Sensitive species lists finalised – expected in the next two weeks
  • Data upload to NBN Atlas started – in progress
  • Initial spatial layers uploaded to NBN Atlas – in progress. Atlas project team is currently sourcing and processing these
  • NBN Atlas available for user testing – in progress
  • Advice on how to transfer historic data currently published on the NBN Gateway and how to manage and publish historical data onto the NBN Atlas – information will be available soon

Work continues in February with Web Services and APIs, guidance of what constitutes “Commercial Use” and publishing the process for data upload to the NBN Atlas, as priorities.

Key dates at a glance

  • 28 February 2017 – deadline for data submissions to the NBN Gateway, including any resubmissions for changing the level of access
  • 28 February 2017 – deadline for adding a licence to a dataset on the NBN Gateway
  • 28 February 2017 – absolute deadline for return of Data Partner Agreements
  • 31st March 2017 – NBN Gateway will close
  • 1st April 2017 – NBN Atlas will be live


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