Delivering on collaboration

Since our last blog back in September about the BioSys work we had been finalising with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), we have continued to work with both the OEH and the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) on this platform.

BioSys was initially created to solve the problem of not having a centralised place to capture, curate and manage biological and ecological field data, and this is a problem that many jurisdictions face – as well as many environmental companies, mining companies and other businesses.  This whole “where is the data being held” discussion is something Piers, Alex and I have been mulling over for a while now, and Alex is going to produce a few blog articles about it in the near future, drawing on his long experience working in the biodiversity informatics space.

The benefits of collaboration are really paying off for the OEH and DBCA.  Earlier this year, OEH significantly benefited by being able to implement DBCA’s BioSys rather than developing a very similar system from scratch.  Instead, they focused their funding on making BioSys mobile-ready; resulting in a Koala Watch app being developed and produced for their use in NSW.

The Koala Watch splash screen – stay tuned for more on this in 2019!

That investment is, in turn, now supporting DBCA to further develop the original Koala Watch app into a more generic data recording tool that dynamically reads data definitions from within BioSys to provide usable forms for data capture in the field. This functionality is something which we’ve been working on at Gaia for some time, across multiple products and services.

This is a real win-win for both the DBCA and OEH and our long-held strategy of supporting collaboration is now actually delivering on its promise.

While we’re waiting for the launch of the Koala Watch, we’re working on the DBCA mobile data capture app, aiming to have it out for their testing in January 2019.  That will be a really interesting phase, as there are multiple different mobile data collection apps in use within DBCA (as we discussed in an internal workshop earlier this year that has seen Piers doing his usual trick of writing up diagrams on every available whiteboard ever since, like below – even as recently as this morning as you can see from Piers’ new fashion accessory).

Just another impromptu whiteboard session

It’s really great being involved in a collaborative project like BioSys, where we can see the benefits of that collaboration coming through thick and fast.  It’s a big feather in the cap of the BioSys champions – Paul Gioia (DBCA), Ron Avery (OEH) and James Bibby (OEH) – that they have been able to get this to work.

This is the sort of vision and collaboration that we strive for in all of our projects and we’d like to do more of it.  If you’re interested in this sort of approach, contact me or start a conversation with us on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.


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