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IBIN unites biodiversity

Bhanu Rekha
Associate Editor,
GIS Development
[email protected]


Technology advances and ease in policy have facilitated the access and thereby increasing the reach of spatial data. Adding to this, the Web has facilitated easy dissemination and sharing of information.

The Indian Bioresources Information Network (IBIN) is one such distributed database infrastructure that is offering information on diverse aspects of bioresources of India.
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has for long been supporting programmes towards achieving the major goals of characterisation, documentation and sustainable utilisation of the rich bioresources of the country. In this regard, a major effort was made towards generating valuable data – spatial and non-spatial, both at primary level and secondary level, concentrating on the bio-rich regions of the country. An important feature of this exercise was developing digitised inventories and successful integration of all data sets on a common Web enable platform.

A major policy initiative taken by the Department after National level consultation was to place all data generated on the bioresources in terms of their diversity, location, status, economic potential, spatial maps of vegetation and landscape features and also distribution of national resources on a compatible and accessible format and to facilitate this, the Indian Bioresource Information Network (IBIN) is established to network the otherwise independent databases into a single window delivery system that is available for any rational query. “This is first-ofits- kind in the country and would help in integrating not just the data sets generated under DBT programmes, but also the data generated by other

researchers and groups working on similar lines elsewhere in the country,” says a DBT source. The portal (www.ibin.co.in), a collaborative effort between the Department of Biotechnology and the Department of Space, was executed by the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) and the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS).

ELEMENTS OF IBIN

IBIN is a network of two core nodes – Jeeva Sampada and Jeev Manchitra

Key Features

• A Web-based network and service system on bioresources of the country.
• Network of independently functioning distributed databases
• Integrates spatial and non-spatial databases on biological resource.
• Promotes co-evolutionary growth among databases
• Aims at an open-ended growth of the network
• Adds value to independently developed bioresource databases.

that were visualised as the nuclei around which the rest of the linkages and datasets have been built.
Jeeva Sampada is a compilation of nonspatial data sets on diverse groups of bio-resources such as plants, animals, marine and microbial resources compiled by over 400 experts from about 100 institutes across the country. Jeeva Sampada is maintained and curated at the Web-node maintained at UAS Bangalore. Besides being the largest database on wide range of bio-resources, it also offers maps of distribution of these resources in the country.

The IBIN spatial node, Jeev Manchitra, has four geospatial layers – vegetation type, fragmentation, disturbance index and biological richness of study area. It also includes widely distributed phytosocilogical inventoried plots in the study area. In the data dissemination process for IBIN spatial node, the spatial datasets are converted into uniform grids (3.75′ x 3.75′ minutes), with WGS84 datum considering the data sharing and map policy of the Government of India. In the data dissemination process of IBIN spatial node, the latest web GIS techniques like AJAX (Asynchronous Java script and XML) and open source solutions like UMN map server, PHP, Apache web server is extensively used to serve the data in Internet domain. At present, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad and the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) , Dehradun, are responsible for the development and maintenance of spatial node – Jeev Manchitra. Jeeva Nakshaprovides a wide range of remotely sensed GIS processed data and also non spatial data in several modules. It hosts perhaps the largest RS and GIS database related to biodiversity in the country.

SCALE, SOFTWARE AND STANDARDS

The IBIN spatial node provides a dynamic Internet GIS base map viewer with basic GIS tools like dynamic legend display, zooming, panning, navigation, zoom to scale, identify, querying, searching, Map output generation (in PDF, JPG, PNG and GeoTIFF format),

Data interoperability is achieved using Web service concept of distributed computing environment. The data is served as XML document in case of attribute data and as OGC compliant WMS in case of geospatial data.

sending outputs through email. The spatial data downloading utility is available in GeoTIFF format. The node also provides a detailed document andhelp file to download and use map outputs., Giving information on the scales of the data, principal investigator at NRSC and deputy director (RS & GIS AA), Dr PS Roy says, “The original geospatial data on biodiversity characterisation at landscape level is available in 1:50,000 scale which has been organised as Web enabled biodiversity information system. However, for enhanced outreach and wider public distribution, the geospatial data is made available through IBIN in 1:1M scale. The geospatial data is accessible and downloadable at client end in GIS data format.”

While the formulation of data standards is in final stage, IBIN presently follows the ISRO NNRMS standards for geospatial data. Data interoperability is achieved using Web service concept of distributed computing environment. Data is served as XML document in case of attribute data and as OGC compliant WMS in case of geospatial data. The attribute data is searchable through unique key identifications at both the node ends.

Target Users of IBIN

• Educational Institutes : To help teachers teaching bioresources and to create awareness of bioresources among students
• Research Organisations: To provide data for prospecting of bioresources
• Conservation Managers: To help them in identifying sites for conservation
• Bio-prospecting Units: For identifying the niches of specific species and new sources of Pharmachemicals.
• Policy Makers: To help decision makers in making decisions related to conservation of sites etc.

DATA DISSEMINATION AND SUBMISSION

IBIN provides a common platform to access data and information related to Indian bioresources. The data can be accessed as Web service and also in original data format as per the policy and guidelines. Any user with proper ownership policy can also publish his/her data and information through IBIN Web portal under common sharable platform.

The submitted data will be published along with additional data available in IBIN data server which will enhance the use and value of data and information. “The data download for spatial data is possible based on user defined extant or viewing extant of map window. Once the user downloads the data it can be opened in any GIS/ image processing software and the further GIS/RS operations are possible,” explain DBT sources.

ROADMAP

After an initial round of success, IBIN is now being developed into a national portal to host diverse datasets related to bioresources and biodiversity. This is aimed to achieve by involving new partners working in related areas, expanding the data ranges and themes, offering datasets in multilingual formats and enlarging the scope of activity by including important areas that have been unexplored so far.

“The vision of NRSC, UAS and DBT is to expand IBIN and take it to larger partnership wherein in the initial stages a large number of initiations with core strength on bioresources will contribute to the IBIN, and subsequently it will have provision to attract information and knowledge from individuals.

The bioresource related key institutions in India have already given their consent to join IBIN and the detailed plan is in final stage,” concludes Dr Roy.

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