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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


India Biodiversity Portal (IBP) was launched in 2008, with a group of like-minded organisations and individuals coming together to establish an open access biodiversity information platform for India. In November 2010 the IBP initiative got a fillip with funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) to build a dedicated Western Ghats Portal (WGP). Now it has grown and matured as a platform for aggregating and disseminating biodiversity information. With features such as the map module, species module and a citizen science module functioning, it has laid a strong foundation for what could evolve as a large, participatory, leading web portal for biodiversity information in India.

How can I add a question to this FAQ?

Please feel free to add questions to this page--we'll try to answer them for you.

What is the intent of the portal?

The portal is intended as a public participatory effort. The Project has been endorsed by the National Knowledge Commission, the Government of India, to promote decentralization, transparency, the right to information and participatory action with respect to biodiversity conservation and utilization. It has been conceived in the public domain and will solicit broad-based participation from civil society, government, research institutions and conservation NGOs to consolidate and augment existing biodiversity information and make it readily accessible to all stakeholders.

Who are the people and organizations behind this effort?

The India Biodiversity Portal initiative was proposed as a collaborative effort between five partner institutions, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune; Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore; Foundation for the Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions, Bangalore; National Chemicals Laboratory, Pune; University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. During the development of the portal, there has been an appreciation in the idea of such a portal that will provide a platform for sharing and open access to biodiversity information. Other institutions have come together as partners on the portal by committing resources, sharing data, and providing intellectual leadership for the evolution of an open and participatory portal. Currently these are Foundation for Ecological Security, Anand and Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, The French Institute at Pondicherry and Strand Life Sciences.

What is the relation between the India Biodiversity Portal and the Western Ghats Portal?

The IBP and WGP run on the same biodiversity informatics platform and share the same functions, technology and database. The Western Ghats Portal provides information specific to the biodiversity hotspot of Western Ghats.

How can I participate in this effort?

This is a public participatory portal and its strength and growth depends upon the extent of participation and public ownership.

You can contribute an observation;

You can contribute a map layer;

You can contribute to species pages;

You can contribute with platform development and technology;

You can contribute with helping in the governance; and

You can contribute with resources.

Please contact us, if you feel you may be able to contribute.



What is Attribution?

Attribution is the original citation of the source who own the intellectual property rights for the data. They need to be acknowledged if the data is used anywhere.

What is the difference between created by and attribution?

While attribution is the citation of original source, created by refers to the person who converted the data into a format suitable for the portal.

How do I use data from the portal?

All information on the portal is on creative commons licenses. Many of the maps on the portal are downloadable. Data from the portal should be used with full attribution to the contributor and the portal.


What are species pages?

Species pages are descriptions of species, with one page for every species. Each species can be described with over 60 standard set of fields. Species pages are contributed and curated by experts. Because species description fields are conform to standards, this information can be exchanged between multiple national and international sites. The species pages is integrated with the map module, the checklists and the observation interface.

How can I contribute to species pages?

We welcome contribution to species pages. You can contribute to species pages by downloading and filling up the simple spreadsheet with one row per species, or the advanced spreadsheet, with one spreadsheet per species description. Please contact us if you want to contribute to species pages. Going further, we will deploy online contribution to species pages.

What is the map module?

The map module is a fully-featured webGIS where you can overlay map layers, zoom into areas of interest and query the. The map layers are organized into themes like abiotic, biogeography, demography, administrative units, land use land over, and conservation. Maps of these contributed layers are downloadable.

How do I contribute maps to the portal?

We welcome contributing maps to the portal. You can contribute maps as shape file, or as table with latitude and longitude columns. You can decide your creative commons license category and if the map is doanloadable. Please contact us if you want to contribute maps.

What is the checklist module?

The portal has curated published checklist from various sources and for different areas of teh country. The checklists are uploaded with details of location and area. The data from checklists are integrated into maps and species pages.

How do I contribute checklists to the portal?

We welcome contributions of checklists to the portal. Checklists must be in tabular form with the column containing the species name clearly marked. The checklist must specify an area and attribution. Going further we will enable direct contribution of checklists to the portal.

What is the observation module?

The observation module is a citizen science initiative where users can upload an observation along with a photograph, a location, and a species name if the observer knows the species. Other users can suggest a species name, agree with the species name provided and comment on the observation. Over time, the crowd sourced observation would provide a database of species and their occurrences. The crowd sources observations are integrated with the species pages and maps.

How do I contribute an observation?

You need to have an account on the portal and have an observation of a species with a photograph and location. Simply login to the portal, go to the observation module and add an observation. Upload the photograph, choose a species groups and a habitat and suggest a species name if you know it. Provide the date of the observation and add some notes if you have any. You can also suggest a species name on any observation and comment on an observation.

What are groups?

The groups framework is in beta. This allows creating multiple sub-portals on the biodiversity platform. Each interest groups and focus group can create a Group on the portal with its own branding, pages, and species, maps, checklists and observation content. The group can decide its membership criteria and permissions to add content. However, all information created and curated in the group framework is public and will be available to all users under creative commons licenses and with clear attribution.

How can I create a groups and invite members?

The groups framework is in beta. Groups are created by a set of founders, with a set of experts and members. Founders decide the permission rules for the group that can vary from a very restrictive group to open interest group. We will experiment with the creation and use of groups and based on response, we will open the feature to a larger audience.

What information is shown in an activity feed?

The activity feed for an anonymous user shows the activity on all of the module of the portal. The activity feed of a group shows the activity of all content included in the group and conversations and activity within the group. For an authenticated and logged in user, your activity will show the activity of all groups you are member of.



What is the data policy on the portal?

All data on the portal is open and freely available. All data is shared under creative commons licenses. The data contributor chooses the particular creative commons license for his data.

Who contributes data to the portal?

You. The data on the portal is contributed by various researchers and amateurs who believe in the idea of sharing data. The portal teams campaigns on the principle and advantages of open data and encourages participation and contributions from a wide spectrum of the community.

How do I find who has contributed the data?

The data is always accompanied with information on the contributor and attribution to the data. These are normally marked with an (i) sign, or a person icon. This also give an idea of the data source.

How do I use data from the portal?

All data on the portal is open and shared under creative commons licenses. The data should be used with clear attribution to the contributor of the data.

How do I download map layers?

Many of the map layers contributed to the portal are downloadable. Whether a map is downloadable or not is decided by the contributor. To download maps you will need to ave a user account on the portal and be logged in. Then you will be able to download maps.

In what formats can you download maps?

Maps can be downloaded as shape files, Text files or in Geographical Markup Language (GML)

How are the maps organized on the site?

Maps are organized on the site by themes and by geographical locations, or geography. Use the tab to look at the maps by theme or by geography and select the maps that you would like displayed.

Can I see a list of all maps on this site?

All the maps available on the site are shown in the layer tree. Expand the tree to see all the maps available.