Thursday, February 10, 2011

Where are you, biodiversity data?

When Dave Thau presented the Google Earth Engin at the TDWG meeting in Woods Hole, I was very sceptical, and still am, with the goal of land use change detection they showed. I did some work in this field during my time as NRC fellow at the JPL and was involved in quiet many debates about the use of RADAR vs optical remote sensing data, especially when it gets to the point of creating large mosaics, or land use change detection. The problem being that all the images are taken at different times, season so the optical signal can be very different (not to speak of let's say a dry forest lost all the leaves from one shot to the next).

But never mind these thoughts, Google announced their launched of their system now called the Google Earth Engine and it presents some data and allows you to make your own analyses.

Once more, the question is up, where our biodiversity observation data is that can be used to make use of these new opportunity. We could figure out, where biodiversity disappears - but can we? I haven't seen a project that specifically makes use of these RS data sets, that is not just anecdotal.

The global initiatives like GBIF or RedList do not champion new field campaigns to get data that would live up to the analysis tools we now have.

The question then remains, how could we actually make use of it.


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