Biodiversity Informatics without borders: Uruguay, here we came

This is a guest post by Andrés Carvajales from the Uruguayan Ministry of Environment/Dirección Nacional de Medio Ambiente, one the main investigators of the GBIF Uruguay portal.

2015 has been an exciting year for biodiversity information management in Uruguay.

Together with SiB Colombia, SiB Brazil and Canadensys, the Participant Node of GBIF in Uruguay has engaged in a Mentoring and Regional Training Support Project that includes work meetings, collaborative development and regional workshops to meet goals of systematize, standardize and make available high quality information about biodiversity to all.

This rather short but intense story began with an alliance between two key institutions in the second smallest country in Latin America. Museo Nacional de Historia Natural y Dirección Nacional de Medio Ambiente signed a formal agreement to relaunch Uruguay’s participation in GBIF and jointly establish a strategy to deal with issues of biodiversity information generation and management on the national level.

Bonding between members of SiB Colombia and GBIF Uruguay, as well as Colombia’s vision on the importance of working collaboratively to promote free and open access to biodiversity information in the region allowed Uruguay to design a proposal to put together some of the best tools, information and people in the field and undertake the development of its own Data Portal, laying as well the foundations of a Biodiversity Information System. Shared experiences and hours of work have allowed GBIF Uruguay to December’s first week saw how Montevideo received its partners of Canadensys, SiB Brazil and SiB Colombia once again to address issues of data publishing and data quality assessment in a workshop with a diverse group of stakeholders and representatives from Argentina, Chile and Cuba.

In the context of the workshop, GBIF Uruguay presented a test version of both its Data Portal and Integrated Publishing Toolkit, discussing with all participants the characteristics of those developments, which are the most significant outcome of almost one year of collaboration among partners in a fantastic working atmosphere.