Our Spatial Portal is a digital platform that allows seamless integration of on-ground data, National databases and satellite maps. This Portal will provide an opportunity to visualise all available data to staff and collaborators for improved decision-making, planning for conservation impact and mitigation of adverse climate change effects and analysis and reporting of our on-ground management with regional context and national/global drivers of change.
National databases and platforms are emerging that integrate all open source environmental data including geological features (e.g. terrain refugia), biological (e.g. species occurrence and abundance), ecological (extent and condition of ecosystem types across landscapes), climate related (temperature, rainfall and soil moisture), economic (e.g. estimated land values) and cultural (e.g. areas predicted to be significant to Traditional Owners). This is a vital resource for conservation planning, management and reporting, but does not easily allow interoperation with data collected by experts on-ground. This information provides verification (or adjustment), depth and specificity that augments these large National databases to the level that is required to make specific decisions and reports on specific properties or actions.
Further, Bush Heritage is co-founder of project Conservation Futures (conservationfutures.org.au) which is building a parallel Integrated Knowledge System which will provide access to critical, detailed cultural information where that is made available by knowledge holders. The two systems are being developed in parallel to ensure seamless integration while recognising, respecting and protecting Indigenous and Cultural Intellectual Property.
Work to date has focused on designing and building data standards, naming conventions, user personas and workflows that will meet our needs. In exploring the National datasets we will integrate with, we have build strong relationships with data managers and systems developers across the country. Now resources are needed to migrate all of our on-ground data into the scaffolding that has been developed, establish data sharing agreements with national databases, build virtual links to each database and test our ability to apply real-time data visualisation in decision making across the Einasleigh Uplands Priority Landscape. Yourka Reserve is our anchor in this landscape and is a key example of the complexity and diversity of ecosystem types in this area. Augmentation of on-ground assessments to deliver a full understanding of the health of the landscape save Bush Heritage significant costs in staff time, improve reliability and robustness of data, improve staff safety and provide staff an opportunity to focus on analysing and interpreting results, rather than focusing on repetitive data collection.
The next stages of this work will require investment in highly skilled systems architects and engagement officers working with data and knowledge holders across the country.