Berkeley Ecoinformatics Engine

Berkeley Ecoinformatics Engine – An open API serving UC Berkeley’s Natural History Data

From the News page:

We are thrilled to release an early version of the Berkeley Ecoinformatics Engine API! We have a lot of data and tools that we’ll be pushing out in future releases so keep an eye out as we are just getting started.

To introduce eco-minded developers to this new resource, we are serving up two key data sets that will be available for this weekend’s EcoHackSF:

For this hackathon, we are encouraging participants to help us document our changing environment. Here’s the abstract:

Wieslander Vegetation Mapping Project – Data from the 1920s needs an update

During the 1920’s and 30’s Albert Everett Wieslander and his team at USGS compiled an amazing and comprehensive dataset known as the Wieslander Vegetation Mapping Project. The data collected includes landscape photos, species inventories, plot maps, and vegetation maps covering most of California. Several teams have been digitizing this valuable historic data over the last ten years, and much of it is now complete. We will be hosting all of the finalized data in our Berkeley Ecoinformatics Engine.

Our task for the EcoHack community will be to develop a web/mobile application that will allow people to view and find the hundreds of now-geotagged landscape photos, and reshoot the same scene today. These before and after images will provide scientists and enthusiasts with an invaluable view of how these landscapes have changed over the last century.

Though this site is focused on the development of the EcoEngine, this project is a part of a larger effort to address the challenge of identifying the interactions and feedbacks between different species and their environment. It will promote the type of multi-disciplinary building that will lead to breakthroughs in our understanding of the biotic input and response to global change. The EcoEngine will serve to unite previously disconnected perspectives from paleo-ecologists, population biologists, and ecologists and make possible the testing of predictive models of global change, a critical advance in making the science more rigorous. Visit to learn more.

Hot damn! Another project trying to reach across domain boundaries and vocabularies to address really big problems.

Maybe the original topic maps effort was just a little too early.

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