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Living Data - Biodiversity Data Systems Conference and Workshop


Event Dates

26 August 2012, Otari-Wilton's Bush, 160 Wilton Road  Wilton, Wellington

27 August 2012, Mac’s Function Centre, corner Taranaki and Cable Streets, Wellington (map):

28 August 2012, NIWA, 301 Evans Bay Parade, Hataitai, Wellington (map):

Data to Sustain Life on Earth

Biodiversity underpins the systems that sustain life on Earth. It cleans air and water and provides the soil and species that humans depend on for food. It creates the natural environments that sustain our cultures and recreation.

Species and ecosystems are being lost every day. The only way to stem this loss is to coordinate the restoration efforts of millions of government and non-government groups around the World. And that needs data.

Efforts to protect biodiversity depend on data about the state and trends of species and ecosystems. Data is needed to manage the local reserve, the biodiversity of a region, across New Zealand and around the World. But biodiversity data is complex and messy.

A Network of Connected Systems

Managing the complexity and geographic spread of biodiversity data requires a network of connected systems. Biodata systems increasingly support data-sharing using common standards. Middleware is emerging to provide the connections in a federated data infrastructure.

Collaboration among agencies managing biodata is now a given. But how should that collaboration happen? What will this shared system look like in New Zealand? What steps are towards building it?

Enabling Interoperability

A network of distributed biodiversity data systems requires three enablers.

  • Standards – Common standards for monitoring, data and metadata must be understood and adopted.
  • Data – Agreements and processes for sharing data and using shared data must be agreed and adopted.
  • Systems – Efforts to establish and maintain systems must be coordinated.

Advancing Alignment of Biodata Systems

Living Data aims to advance collaboration on building a network of shared biodata systems in New Zealand.

  • The Field Trip will connect the biodata conversations with hands-on management of collections and restoration.
  • The Conference will survey plans and progress in data systems as part of a network of linked systems and identify opportunities for collaboration.
  • The Launch of NZOR will open a world-leading taxonomic clearing-house.
  • The Workshop will generate action to align data systems.

Who Should Attend

Biodiversity and Biosecurity Scientists, IT Specialists, Managers and Policy-Makers should attend. Living Data will also be of interest to anyone interested open Government data, open and data-driven science, and environmental and geospatial data.

Otari-Wilton's Bush Field Trip

Sunday 26 August, 12:00pm - 3:00pm, Otari-Wilton's Bush, 160 Wilton Road, Wellington (map)

Grasses at Otari-Wiltons Bush

How can biodata systems support collections and restoration projects? The Field Trip is an opportunity to connect data systems with a hands-on biodiversity project.

Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton's Bush Reserve is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants. It is classified as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture.

This unique plant sanctuary and forest reserve consists of 100 hectares of native forest, and five hectares of plant collections. Some of Wellington's oldest trees are here, including an 800-year-old rimu.

Members of all Wellington restoration groups are invited to participate in this event.

Field Trip Programme

12:00pmIntroductions and lunch
1:00pmTour of the Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton's Bush Reserve
2:30pmAfternoon tea

Biodiversity Data Systems Conference

Monday 27 August, 9:00pm - 4:45pm, Mac’s Function Centre, corner Taranaki and Cable Streets, Wellington (map).

Conference Programme

9:15amPresentations: Plans and Progress with Biodata Systems as Part of a Federated Infrastructure
  • Landcare Research: Dr Aaron Wilton, Allan Herbarium, Landcare Research.
  • NIWA: Jochen Schmidt, Chief Scientist Environmental Information, NIWA
  • DOC: Benno Kappers, Natural heritage information project leader, and herpetofauna administrator, Department of Conservation.
  • Musea: Phil Edgar, Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Local Government: James Lambie, Horizons Regional Council and Chair of the Dataversity Steering Team
10:30amMorning Tea
11:00amPresentations: Plans and Progress with Biodata Systems as Part of a Federated Infrastructure (contd.)
  • NGOs; Colin Meurk, Landcare Research and NatureWatch NZ.
  • Ministry for the Environment: Josh Fyfe, Analyst, Natural Systems, and Karl Majorhazi, Senior Analyst, Natural Systems, MfE.
  • the Atlas of Living Australia: Peter Doherty ALA
  • International Collaborations: Dr Joanne Daly, Governing Board Chair Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Strategic Advisor, Science, Strategy & People CSIRO, Project Steering Committee Member ALA
1:00pmSystem Showcase Presentations: Presentations on specific systems. Discussion on opportunities for collaboration that arise from the presentations.
Local Government
  • NatureWatch: Jon Sullivan
  • Community Conservation Monitoring Toolbox Project: Marc Slade, Terrestrial Conservation Programme Manager
    WWF NZ
  • eBird, an existing citizen science programme to gather Living Data: Bruce McKinlay, Vice President, Ornithological Society of New Zealand Inc.
CRIs, Musea
  • A Musem's perspective, data that's held and potential for sharing it: Sue Waugh, Te Papa Tongarewa
  • NIWA's Interoperable
    Biodata Information System
    : Jochen Schmidt and Andrew Watkins, NIWA
  • Landcare Research's Biodata Tools and Services: Informatics team, Landcare Research.
2:30pmThe Open Government Information and Data Work Programme: Alison Stringer and Keitha Booth
2:35pmReports from System Showcase Presentations
3:00pmAfternoon Tea
3:30pmParticipative Session: Opportunities to Advance Collaboration
4:10pm to 4:45pmPanel Discussion: What is Needed to Advance Collaboration on Biodata Systems in New Zealand?

Launch of the New Zealand Organisms Register (NZOR)

Monday 27 August, 5:00pm - 7:00pm, Mac’s Function Centre, corner Taranaki and Cable Streets, Wellington (map).


The New Zealand Organisms Register (NZOR) is a definitive authoritative registry of taxonomic names for the 100,000+ organism names relevant for New Zealand’s biodiversity, biosecurity, conservation and biotechnology sectors.

Having this information available online will save organisations time and money, while reducing the risk
in decision making and improving inter-agency communication.

Find out how NZOR works, talk to the developers and discuss how NZOR will support NZ organisations, business and the economy.

5:00pmRefreshments and Networking
5:30pmLaunch of NZOR by Hon David Carter, Minister of Primary Industries
6:00pm Social function

NZOR was developed by Landcare Research under a multi-agency steering group established in 2006 and supported with funding from the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information Systems Programme. It will form a key part of New Zealand’s bioinformatics infrastructure, supporting scientific research and biodiversity and biosecurity management.

Biodiversity Data Systems Workshop

Tuesday 28 August, 9:00am - 4:30pm, NIWA, 301 Evans Bay Parade, Hataitai, Wellington (map).

The agenda of the workshop is to achieve explicit commitments to actions that will increase collaboration on building a federated biodata infrastructure.

The workshop will focus on the three key enablers for interoperability. The specific opportunities to be addressed will be identified in the afternoon plenary session of the Conference.

The workshop will address issues such as finding ways to:

  • increase adoption of standards
  • reduce duplication of effort
  • secure ongoing funding for data systems
  • balance local and national needs
  • improve data-sharing agreements and processes
  • manage duplicate data sets

Workshop Programme

9:00amIntroduction and Work Session Planning
10:30amMorning Tea
11:00amWork Sessions (Parallel)
1:30pmWork Sessions (Parallel)
3:00pmAfternoon Tea
3:30pmReports from Work Sessions

Thanks to our Sponsors

Internet New Zealand

Agency Sponsors

Bay of Plenty Regional CouncilWaikato Regional CouncilDepartment of Conservation
Horizons Regional CouncilHawkes Bay Regional CouncilLandcare Research

Greater Wellington Regional Council
Ministry for Primary IndustriesNIWA

Corporate Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

SilverStripeNorthSouth GIS

Bronze Sponsors


Register Now

Registration is Free and is Open Now.

Request for Speakers

To express interest in presenting at the conference please email details of your proposed presentation to Dan Randow.