BioNet Species Sightings

The Species Sightings data collection contains records of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, some fungi, invertebrates and fish. Data collected as part of the Systematic Survey data collection are returned in Species sightings searches

How can I access the Species Sightings data collection?

User registration is required to identify who is contributing data, and to manage access to sensitive species location information.

Public access

The Species sightings search can be accessed without a user login and can be used to search for and extract publicly available information. In these searches, records of sensitive species have had their location coordinates modified to obscure their true location.

Login access

For richer functionality, including the ability to submit species sigtings and survey data it is required that you register for a BioNet Atlas login.

Apply for Registered user access

  • This will provide you with access to additional system functionality including ability to upload spreadsheets of species sighitngs and systematic survey data, or to use the data analysis function of the Systematic Flora surveys data module

Apply for a Sensitive Species Data Licence

  • This will provide you with access to more detailed location information about sensitive threatened species than is available on this public site (conditions apply).

Web Services access

If you require data in a machine readable format, try accessing BioNet data through BioNet Web Service APIs. This is the primary channel used to deliver data to mobile application, planning and assessment systems, and data aggregators in other jurisdictions including Atlas of Living Australia. Use your BioNet Atlas login to access sensitive species data.

How can I contribute to the Species Sightings data collection?

The sightings you contribute to the Species Sightings data collection of BioNet Atlas will be re-used in many research and conservation programs and will help guide decisions on where government and land management activities will occur. It is important that you contribute accurate location details for all species, particularly accurate locations of threatened species to ensure impacts are avoided where possible.

If you have any questions, please contact the BioNet Team.

Handling of Sensitive Species data

Sensitive species are a relatively small subset of threatened species that are subject to illegal collection activities, or sensitive to human impact. All BioNet Atlas data is managed and made available according to the Office of Environment and Heritage's sensitive species data policy.

Access to sensitive species locations is strictly managed through sensitive species data licensing which is linked to a user's BioNet Atlas login credentials. No sensitive species locations may be passed on to others.

More information on BioNet Species Sightings searches

What do I get if I run a Species Sightings search?

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 surveys' 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 from BioNet 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.


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: 26 July 2018