About BioNet Atlas

BioNet Atlas contains biodiversity observation data for NSW and is a component of the BioNet repository which containd a number of biodiversity data products.

What data does BioNet Atlas contain?

BioNet Atlas has existed in various formats since 1980 when it only contained species sightings data. It currently contains four data collections:

  • Species Sightings (previously referred to as the 'Atlas sightings' module); contains records of species (plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, some fungi, invertebrates and fish).
  • Systematic Surveys (previously referred to as the 'Fauna survey' and 'VIS flora survey' modules); contains detailed systematic flora or fauna survey information for sites where systematic surveys have been undertaken.
  • Threatened Biodiversity (previously referred to as the 'TS Profiles' module)' contains detailed ecological data for each species, populations, communities and key threatening processes listed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, in addition to management actions.
  • Species Names (previously referred to as the 'Species' module); contains species taxonomic details.

 Note that a BioNet Atlas search will return records from both the Species Sightings and Systematic Surveys modules. 

How can I contribute to BioNet Atlas?

If you want to submit records electronically, there are three different spreadsheets available:

  • Species Sightings can be entered into the BioNet Atlas spreadsheet
  • Systematic Surveys can be entered into either the Systematic Flora Survey datasheet or the Systematic Fauna Survey datasheet. Note the Survey datasheets only allow upload of species data. Survey details and site information need be first manually entered into the BioNet Atlas application. If you are interested in contributing survey data, please first contact the BioNet Team.

To upload your spreadsheet, you will need to register for a login to the BioNet Atlas. Anyone can register, and it is expected that scientific licence holders will obtain a login so that they may upload spreadsheets to fulfil their scientific licence requirements.

Apply to register.

If you have any questions about contributing, or any queries about how to complete the spreadsheet, contact the BioNet Team.

Refer to the Quick guides, manuals and datasheets page for assistance in uploading your data. 

How can I access BioNet Atlas data?

1. Public access

The BioNet Atlas application can be accessed without a user login and can be used to search for and extract publicly available information for the Species Sightings and Systematic Flora Survey data collections. Note that BioNet Atlas data is made available in accordance with OEH's Sensitive Species Data Policy.

2. Login access

To access more detailed location information about sensitive species available beyond the public website, apply for a Sensitive Species data licence (conditions apply).

OEH staff also have access to datasets supplied to OEH for internal agency use only. OEH staff requiring access to BioNet Atlas data should contact the BioNet Team to organise a staff login to the application.

Note, your BioNet login and associated access rights will apply to both the BioNet login application and the BioNet Species Sightings Web Service.

What do I get if I do a search on the BioNet Atlas website?

The 'Species Sightings Search' menu allows you to:

  • obtain recorded sightings for a precise geographic area such as a national park, a local government area or an area drawn by you using an interactive map
  • display and save a list of species recorded in your chosen area
  • display and print the recorded sightings for each species on a map
  • query individual mapped records, using the ‘identify’ tool in the map viewer 
  • download the record set (downloads capped at 200,000 records) as a tab-delimited text file, to use in your GIS
  • obtain more information on any threatened species found in your search, via links to OEH’s Threatened Biodiversity website.

The  'Flora survey' menu allows you to interrogate the detailed plot data held in the Systematic Flora Surveys data collection of the BioNet Atlas database.

Where does the information come from?

The flora and fauna records in BioNet Atlas come from various sources including:

  • survey data held in the Systematic Survey data collections
  • OEH, including data from the Royal Botanic Gardens herbarium database, and from National Parks and Wildlife staff
  • data submitted by ecological consultants, research scientists, and others (as part of the scientific licence procedure)
  • data provided by other agencies, such as Forests NSW, the Australian Museum and the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme
  • historical reports
  • the general public. 

Who uses the information in the Atlas?

The records in the Atlas are used by a wide variety of people, including:

  • people who wish to know more about species occurring in their local area
  • academics and researchers working in particular areas or on particular species
  • students carrying out school projects
  • consultants undertaking environmental impact assessments
  • land holders undertaking development clearing or private native forestry applications
  • state and Commonwealth government departments for conservation planning and land management
  • local government agencies for local planning purposes
  • and local land services. 

What are the limitations of the data?

Data in the BioNet Atlas, whilst extensive, is nevertheless patchy. It covers all areas of NSW and also includes some records from neighbouring states, but will not provide information on the full distribution of a species. The BioNet Atlas is not a comprehensive inventory of all species, nor of all locations of species in NSW. Except in areas where detailed survey information has been incorporated into the database, the search results for a particular area are based on a mix of reported sightings. For example, sightings often follow patterns of human movement, such as along roads.

It is also important to realise that the number of recorded sightings for a species does not necessarily correspond in any way to the actual abundance of that species in NSW. Contributors often focus their efforts on recording threatened species, with the result that rare species may have more recorded sightings in the Bionet Atlas than common species. Conversely, a common species in an area may not be recorded in BioNet Atlas, because no-one has thought to report its occurrence.

The data may contain errors and omissions and you use the data at your own risk. Neither the Office of Environment and Heritage nor any other data custodian will accept liability for any loss, damage, cost or expenses that you may incur as a result of the use of or reliance upon the data. Data in the BioNet Atlas is constantly updated and you should use the current data from the BioNet Atlas website and not rely on material you have previously printed or downloaded.

Copyright

OEH is the custodian of the BioNet Atlas database and is responsible for its maintenance, update and the distribution of data. The data and copyright and other intellectual property rights in the data remain with the data contributor - owner. Copyright in extracts and printouts, or online search results from the BioNet Atlas database, are held by OEH and protected by the copyright laws of Australia.

Data is made available from BioNet in accordance with CC-BY (4.0), with the following exceptions:

  • locations for species listed on OEH's Sensitive Species list may be withheld or denatured
  • datasets provided to BioNet Atlas by third parties, for which we are not licensed to on supply.

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Page last updated: 19 September 2017