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Species distribution data from museum collections data and observation networks are quickly becoming available on the web. In the framework of a collaboration between Kew Gardens and the European project ViBRANT, we have designed and implemented GeoCAT, an open source, browser based tool that performs rapid geospatial analysis to facilitate the process of Red Listing taxa. GeoCAT enables user to quickly and easily combine data from natural history collections published to the GBIF network, observations posted to Flickr and Scratchpads, as well as new sources uploaded by the user. Analyses are run instantly in the web-browser and a complete record of the process are stored in a GeoCAT file that can be reloaded, shared and published.
GeoCAT was developed as an open source tool. This means that the methods and contributions of the code itself can help inform the informatics community in the future. Open source also aids in the transparency of decision making, by allowing anyone to see and audit algorithms. The code is accessible to anyone from the project’s Github repository (https://github.com/Vizzuality/GeoCAT). We hope to see GeoCAT enhance the ease, speed and accuracy of Red List assessments and also allow natural history collections to when their data was involved in Red List assessments by storing all information in the GeoCAT file. The tool represents a first step toward bringing species risk assessment to the web and providing the basis for standards we may use for sharing the information and methods behind Red List assessments.
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