Internet-based Biodiversity Database Workshop April 24 - 27, 2000

Uniform Field Observation Database

Patrick Gaul and Isaac Oshima

Associate Programmer Analyst , California Heritage Program, California Department of Fish and Game
GIS Applications Development Coordinator, California Heritage Program, California Department of Fish and Game

Employees of the California Department of Fish and Game regularly collect and store large amounts of field data in support of the department's conservation mission. Because of the varied nature, and geographic dispersal of these collection efforts, bringing these datasets together in a compatible format and in a timely manner has been problematic. An attempt to create a one-size-fits-all solution, available on the Internet to provide for this has proven unsuccessful. As the solution became capable of handling different types of data it became more difficult to use. Additionally, the requirement to be online while entering or querying data prohibited the application's use in the field, and limited its use by users with slow dial-up Internet connections. As an alternative, a protocol was developed for a database design based on core templates and standardized tools, closely integrated with GIS. Furthermore, these databases were deployed as replicas, capable of synchronizing their contents using the Internet. This allows individual users to enter data into or query their own personal copy of the database, off-line, and then connect to the Internet only for the duration required for synchronization. This results in the dynamic collection and consistent storage of many separate databases in a central location.