GOAL 4: Share data


Data visualization is critical for understanding what resources are available, performing exploratory analyses or just finding out about what species are most common in our own backyards. Our goal is to allow the most useful data visualizations for volunteers, the general public, management agencies, and the scientific community. Although we don't require programs to allow data visualizations and downloads to be members of our network, we will encourage each program to make their data available to the extent they feel comfortable. At least we will provide contact information so people can contact program managers to inquire about data availability. However, most programs support high levels of data access and we be developing data access and visualization tools and sharing them among programs. One challenge is that different types of programs will require different visualization solutions. Our initial focus will be maps and trend graphs. Below we show two potential visualizations for different types of data. First, we developed this schematic for representing data from our largest monitoring program, the North American Butterfly Association's Count program. The below figure was designed using data for the monarch (Danaus plexippus). The map shows relative abundances from around 500 surveys in 2006. The graphs at left show year-to-year averages in four eco-zones. The slider could be moved to change the map to show each year's values. [insert image] The next potential visualization is for transect programs that survey each site several times during the course of the year. The below visualization comes from Art Shapiro's CA transect program and shows the probability of observing a particular species each week over the several years of data collection (a). Red points indicate a recorded presence and a grey point an absence. Cumulative probabilities of observing the species throughout the year is also shown (b). [insert image] The goal is to allow species-by-species visualizations with the option to view table versions of those visualizations that allow for easy downloads. In addition to manual data downloads, APIs will be developed to foster online “mashups” and data aggregators such as Encyclopedia of Life can show previews of these mashups and summary visualizations on its species pages and bring new users to the original source projects. We hope through both on-line visualizations and access to summarized or raw data.