Tuesday, December 02, 2014

GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge

The GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge is open! From the official announcement
The GBIF Secretariat has launched the inaugural GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge, hoping to inspire innovative applications of open-access biodiversity data by scientists, informaticians, data modelers, cartographers and other experts.
First prize is €20,000, full details on prizes and entry requirements are on the Challenge web site. To judge the entries GBIF has assembled a panel of judges comprising people both inside and outside GBIF and its advisory committees:

Large  3 Lucas Joppa
 Scientist, Computational Ecology and Environmental Sciences Group / Microsoft Research
Large  2 Mary Klein
 President & CEO / NatureServe
Download Tanya Abrahamse
 CEO / SANBI: South African National Biodiversity Institute
Large  1 Arturo H. Ariño
 Professor of Ecology / University of Navarra
Large Roderic Page (that's me)
 Professor of Taxonomy / University of Glasgow

This is the first time we've run the challenge, so the topic is wide open. Below I've put together some ideas that are simply designed to get you thinking (and are in no way intended to limit the sort of things that could be entered).

400px GOS weighted unifrac fullEvolutionary trees
Increasingly DNA sequences from DNA barcoding and metabarcoding are being used to study biodiversity. How can we integrate that data into GBIF? Can we decorate GBIF maps with evolutionary trees?
GoogleforestChange over timeGlobal Forest Watch is an impressive example of how change in the biosphere can be monitored over time. Can we do something similar with GBIF data? Alternatively, if the level of temporal or spatial resolution in GBIF data isn't high enough, can we combine these sources in some way?
GBIF has started to provide
graphical summaries of its data
, and there is lots to be done in this area. Can we have a Google Analytics-style summary of GBIF data?

This merely scratches the surface of what could be done, and indeed one of the reasons for having the challenge is to start a conversation about what can be done with half a billion data records.