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data collection

aggregation and curation

validation and verification


analysis and use

Data Life cycle

Click an icon to learn more about each stage of the cycle

If you have any more questions regarding the GiGL Data Flow, don't hesitate to get in contact with Victoria Kleanthous via the link below:https://www.gigl.org.uk/contact/

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Data Storage LERCs serve as repositories of wildlife and site records within different regions of the country, with GiGL specifically serving this function for Greater London (everywhere within the M25). LERCs mobilise, curate and share data. By storing data in a central repository, rather than as an individual, or singular organisation, more consistent data and shareability can be achieved across the whole of London rather than discrepancies that may arise where data is kept in isolation. Data storage has come along way from towers of recording cards to the use of digital databases of records. GiGL and other LERCs use the software Recorder 6 to store species data. To build an idea of how species populations and locations and site use have changed over time, it is vital that we are able to digitise old records. There are many initiatives to do this from the comfort of your own home. See the links below for more information: LNHS digitising historic records GiGL Joy of Recording

Data Collection Scroll to the bottom for links! Collection of good quality ecological data of different types and in different forms represents the first vital step in the data workflow. Without the fantastic and enthusiastic resource of volunteers and recorders, biological recording in the UK would be severely lacking; whether through direct submission of records to GiGL, use of a recording app or even transcribing historic bird records, all efforts are hugely appreciated! Ecological data includes observation records of the presences and absences of species, in addition to data that can give deeper meaning where a particular species was sited and when. Observation data, both current and historical gives a great snapshot into the space and time of where/when the record was taken, but other types of data can help us to build a more-in depth and wider picture of the status of nature more generally:

  • eDNA can be used to determine the genetic history of a local population of organisms or to determine the size of this local population
  • eAcoustic data is very useful for nocturnal species and can additionally give more insight into the life cycle of the organism e.g. whether breeding and seeking a mate or not
  • Abiotic data of the site e.g. this is particularly important in a marine and freshwater context where it is vital to measure aquatic pollution levelsThis data can also be used for habitat assessments where, based upon a checklist of specialist or indicator species, a particular area an be designated as a particular habitat
  • Site data documents the context in which the record occurred for example occurring on a protected site or perhaps in an area that is classified as an Area of Deficiency in access to Open Space
GiGL is always looking to improve the utility and lifespan of our datasets to be able to provide the most replete picture of nature in London to ensure its appreciation and protection now and always. GiGL obtains records from individuals, organisations and gradually from more apps, this obviously raises the issue of data duplication. It would be impossible to collect all the data necessary that would be needed to adequately explain/describe a living, natural ecosystem or species population through time and this would generate an unstoreable volume of data! Ecological data is therefore generally collected in a manner consistent with its desired final use or that which is most applicable to the recorder: Systematic Surveys - a consistent methodology is used over a defined period of time to obtain as an objective picture as possible e.g. recording groups recording their same patch or ecological consultants producing a baseline ecological assessment of a site for a developer Adhoc recording - records are taken as and when an organism is sighted e.g. a new recorder using a recording app for the first time! This can lead to differences in the data submitted to a LERC, differences in sampling effort around the country and for specific taxa (GiGL have a of bird records but many fewer spider records) and different sampling methods lead to different artefacts in the data. Through data curation and validation, LERCs try and provide standardised data and through projects such as DECIDE, sampling effort can be redirected around the country to build up the most accurate picture possible. The links below will redirect you to various articles regarding citizen and science data standards: GiGL Citizen Scientists! GiGL Zooniverse Project Guide to Biological Recording Bias and Information in Biological Recording, Isaac & Pocock 2015

Validation and Verification Scroll to the bottom for links! Data validation and verification are key stages to ensure that the data and records kept by a LERC are consistent in their content, meet GBIF data standards and are accurate. This ensures that when data is accessed from the central repository, there is some guarantee that it gives a valid and accurate picture of the nature found at a particular site, at a particular time. These processes are complete by LERCs as well as by recording apps. Though the exact checks and validation procedures tend to differ, it is vital that each record contains the WHAT - what was sighted/collected? WHERE - where was this (the more accurate and precise, the better)? WHEN - when was the record taken and in what sampling context? WHO - who sampled the record? (useful for gaining more context and for species validation) GiGL and other LERCs follow the standards as set forward by NBN and endeavour to follow FAIR data management principles. GiGL are also always seeking skilled and knowledgeable individuals to act as volunteer verifiers of records within London for specific taxa and species groups. GiGL Validation and Verification Policy GiGL Verifiers Needed! GBIF data quality requirements

Data Aggregation and Curation The aggregation and curation of data touches upon many of the same concepts as those covered in data collection, validation and verification. LERCs aggregate data from many different resources, for example GiGL currently downloads records from iRecord and is attempting to do the same through other recording applications. Difficulties arise in differences in data format content and licensing. Curation of data ensures that data meet the FAIR data management practices and sees the addition of associated 'metdata' to records. The FAIR data principles ensure that data is available to those who need it, without undermining the quality of the data or the ability of those managing the data to perform this function of data collation/management. FAIR data is different to Open data which is freely usable to everyone. To qualify as FAIR data, data must be: Findable Accessible Interoperable Reusable GiGL does collate Open datasets and these are available on The London Data Store: The London Data Store FAIR data principles

Data Use and Analysis As you have seen throughout London Recorders Day 2021, ecological records can be analysed and used in myriad ways. We work to appreciate, improve understanding of and ultimately protect London's nature. Without ecological records, GiGL would be unable to achieve this work. We are eternally grateful to recorders to help us achieve our vision now and into the future development of London. For more information on the analyses and uses of data featured at LRD, please go back to the other features of the delegate pack!