The Belgian-built GBIF Alert system – a flexible open-source system for notifying users about the availability of new occurrence records through GBIF – has won first-prize in the 2023 Ebbe Nielsen Challenge.
This reusable open source tool demonstrates how to use GBIF.org as a system for notifying users of newly available occurrence records for any species or location of interest. While it can be deployed and configured to generate alerts for any combination of specific taxa, areas or source datasets, the system’s most likely use case focuses on the management of invasive alien species (IAS).
Field managers and policymakers responsible for monitoring the spread of IAS require rapid access to information about the appearance of new occurrences of species of concern, whether in known areas of introduction or new ones. GBIF Alert can keep them informed about new (or new to GBIF) records of their species of interest, triggering email notifications selected through a simple, intuitive user interface. The demo submitted for the Challenge is configured to monitor the GBIF occurrence index for new records of invasive species in North America.
The members of the Belgian team responsible for GBIF Alert, led by Nicolas Noé of The Binary Forest, are no strangers to the GBIF community or the Challenge winners’ podium. Noé was part of a three-person team that won the Challenge’s inaugural prize in 2015 along with Peter Desmet from the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), who has joined him again here. Lien Reyserhove and Damiano Oldoni of INBO likewise partnered with Desmet on their 2018 joint first-place entry. INBO colleagues Tim Adriaens and Bram D’Hondt round out the members of this year’s winning team.
Nicholas Noé explains:
“GBIF Alert arose directly from the experience of developing Life RIPARIAS, an open-source GBIF-based early alert system targeting some invasive riparian plants and crayfishes in parts in Belgium. Once we realized that a more flexible, less hard-coded configuration would make it useful to many other teams around the world, it just felt wrong to keep it to ourselves, so we put in some extra effort. Our happiness and surprise at winning first prize has given us a boost that we’ll invest in other biodiversity informatics tools in the same open-source spirit, and we’d love to see the functionality of GBIF Alert integrated directly into GBIF.org.”
Second and Third Prize Winners
Frictionless Data from Bionomia, submitted by David Shorthouse, won second prize for a new export feature that supports ongoing improvements to data quality for specimen records from scientific collections.
And the joint-third prize winners for 2023 are:
- Library of Identification Resources developed by Lars Willighagen of the Netherlands, and
- Open Data Biodiversity Mapper created by a three-person team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) led by Sam Perrin.
Allocations from the annual prize pool of €20,000 will award the first-place team with €8,000, €6,000 for second place, and €3,000 each for the third-place winners.
More information is available on the GBIF website.