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The GFBio VAT (Visualization, Aggregation & Transformation) system

Addressing biodiversity research questions often depends upon aggregation, visualization and analysis of different data types at varying spatial and temporal resolutions with diverse formats. GFBio developed a Visualization, Analysis & Transformation System (VAT) that enables the synthesis of heterogeneous spatio-temporal data sets, and provides added value services via a GIS-like web-browser interface for biodiversity researchers.

 

Screenshot of the VAT showing point occurrences from GBIF and own data as well as polygons from an IUCN range map for the African Elephant and the Forest Elephant.

 

Up to now specific data types include biogeographical data (from the data archives of the GFBio consortium via the search portal , but also, e.g., species occurrence records from GBIF and range maps from IUCN ), data on drivers of biodiversity changes (e.g. climate and land use data including Worlclim and GLC 2000 ).

The VAT system allows the explorative selection of data in a step-by-step fashion driven by responsive visualization techniques, the integration of collection and observation data with environmental variables like climate and terrain information, quality control procedures within the portal and an automatic transformation of data to fit the researcher's requirements and tools.

 

Current standard functionality includes

  • Visualization of occurrence points and ranges, as well as raster data

  • Overlays between biodiversity and environmental data layers with varying projections and resolutions

  • Setting coordinate reference systems for the entire project

  • Creation of new layers by extracting environmental explanatory values (from raster and vector data) to occurrence points

  • Filtering occurrences on time ranges and polygons

  • Reusable and shareable workflows

  • Histograms of point data

  • Export function of tables into csv files

  • Information on licences and citations is available throughout the workflow and part of export files

 

Advanced users with requirements beyond the provided data operations and visualizations have the option to run their own R code within the VAT.

 

More details can be found here:

 

Christian Authmann, Christian Beilschmidt, Johannes Drönner, Michael Mattig, Bernhard Seeger: VAT: A System for Visualizing, Analyzing and Transforming Spatial Data in Science. Datenbank-Spektrum 15(3): 175-184 (2015)

 

Christian Authmann, Christian Beilschmidt, Johannes Drönner, Michael Mattig, Bernhard Seeger: Rethinking Spatial Processing in Data-Intensive Science. BTW Workshops 2015: 161-170

 

Authmann, C., Beilschmidt, C., Drönner, J., Mattig, M., Seeger, B. (2015): Explorative Workflows for Data-Driven Geo-Science. GFÖ 2015 - Ecology for a sustainable future, 45th annual conference of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Göttingen, Germany, 31.08.-04.09.2015.

 

Authmann, C., Beilschmidt, C., Drönner, J., Mattig, M., Seeger, B. (2014): Analytical Workflows for Large Data. TDWG 2014 Symposium: Biodiversity Informatics workflows and services.