Report Review of online and desktop tools for the ALA

Citation: Tann, J; Flemons, P. 2008. Review of online and desktop tools for the ALA. 309 pp. Atlas of Living Australia.


This report presents a review of available software tools that could be used to support the Atlas of Living Australia.
These software tools include both desktop and online applications and searchable databases.
This is not an exhaustive list. Further tools can potentially be added through the Atlas of Living Australia Tools Wiki.
In preparing this review we have investigated the following significant areas for appropriate tools:
- Data cleaning, validation and manipulation - eg spelling, misnaming, georeferencing, validation
- Visualisation - eg maps, graphs, images, tables etc
- Georeferencing - eg gazetteers
- Data analysis - eg environmental niche modelling; survey gap analysis
- Data Capture (of non-electronic data )- eg literature, digitisation of specimen data
- Taxonomy - eg identification
- Name resolution - eg name servers
- Provider interaction - eg building and preparing datasets, accepting feedback, communication
- Metadata - eg creation, collating, data discovery
- Environmental data - eg GIS layers, site specific data
- Bibliography - references
- Feedback - eg for errors, additions, alterations, quality
- User interface - personal or institutional, visual presentation or raw data, portable devices

Tools for database interaction were not investigated as part of the review, as these were considered to be intrinsic to the system architecture, a feature not yet determined. This included access protocols, data formats, metadata standards, and data exchange schema.
The software tools reviewed here will interact with the ALA in a variety of ways. There are examples of software tools that can be used as stand-alone applications, virtually independent of ALA architecture. Some tools lie firmly embedded inside other applications or websites, examples of potential for the ALA; or may possibly be able to be adapted specifically for the ALA. Many databases offer access to the public through a personal front-end. These databases may better benefit the ALA by a direct interaction, machine to machine. Other tools, such as desktop modelling tools, may use the ALA only as a vast source of data.

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Tags ALA, Atlas of Living Australia, review, tools, biodiversity, software,