The Atlas of Living Australia is collaborative project with partners including Australia’s premier museums, research institutions, and government departments concerned with documenting Australia’s biodiversity.
The collection and representation of Australian biodiversity information online is currently handled by a range of services and institutions across disciplines and approaches. These include (for example); The Australian Virtual Herbarium, The Online Zoological Collections of Australian Museums, the Australian Natural Resource Atlas, The Biomaps gateway to biodiversity information hled by Natural History Institutions, The Australian Plant Census, The Birdata Atlas of Australian Birds.
The Atlas of Living Australia aims to support, augment and extend the diverse range of existing collections that document Australian biodiversity making that data both extensible and interoperable. A significant part of the project is providing a system capable of aggregating, managing, and developing nomenclature and taxonomic information between across institutions and collections. This decentralised and collaborative approach to metadata will allow a more distributed approach to the work of collecting, identifying, and aggregating information related to biodiversity.
A dynamic approach to the nomenclature and taxonomy has two outcomes – it streamlines and economises the collection and digitisation of biodiversity information while allowing for its more effective re-use and extension across institutions and by the greater public. The Atlas is interested in supporting the work and activities of existing organisations and networks by building the potential for a more agile and participatory collection and digitisation of biodiversity information while at the same time providing for the dynamic aggregation and redistribution of that data in the interest of open and distributed research.
By aggregating biodiversity information the Atlas hopes to make existing work and activities of its various stakeholders available and interoperable with the information and research of the Australian Plant Phenomics Laboratory and the Australian Pacific Network for Global Change Research and ensuring this information is made open and accessible beyond the biodiversity research community – to, for example, the Australian Biosecurity Intelligence Network, the Integrated Marine Observing System, and the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network.
The ALA was officially launched in July of 2010 and will become publicly accessible in late 2010.
Partners include the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), The Australian Museum, The Museum and Art Galleries of Northern Territory, Museum Victoria, The Queensland Museum, The South Australian Museum, The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, The Western Australian Museum, Southern Cross University, The University of Adelaide, The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, The Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water and the Arts (DEWHA), as well as the representative bodies concerned with the administration and management of biodiversity collections.
The project is funded by the Australian Government under the National Collaborative Research Strategy and supported by the Super Science Initiative form the Education Investment Fund.
Atlas of Living Australia Launch - Infrastructure for Biodiversity Research (Donald Hobern, 28 July 2010) – PDF (8.2MB)
Atlas of Living Australia Website – http://www.ala.org.au/ accessed Friday 8th Oct 2010.