Since its establishment in 2006, Canadensys has published more than three million occurrence records, with an emphasis on digitizing specimens from the biological collections of its powerful national open-data network of universities, museums, ministries and other organizations. While Canadensys Explorer, its flagship application, succeeded in its goal to make Canadian biodiversity data freely and openly accessible to all, the system has reached its limits, so in 2016 Canadensys began exploring the adoption of open-source infrastructure originally developed by GBIF’s Australian node, the Atlas of Living Australia.
Working with GBIF France as a technical mentor, Canadensys will deploy a complete customized installation of the ALA platform. This new responsive-design instance will integrate an existing style guide, provide enhanced front-end user and administration interfaces in French and English and transfer datasets in preparation to the old system’s migration to the cloud.
During the technical mentoring that took place in Montreal last July 2017 between GBIF France and Canadensys, much of the technical elements of the ALA-based platform were prepared. The mentoring period laid the groundwork for the Canadensys team to train others and share knowledge on basic ALA modules and included the transfer of datasets, developing the frontend user and administration interfaces, and context discovering culminating in the launch of a demonstration website.
The new ALA-based Canadensy Explorer was launched for the 2017 Biodiversity Information Standards conference (TDWG) in Ottawa and a poster presented highlighting the contributions made between GBIF France and Canadensys. The new Canadensys Explorer is already proving a poplular platform with more than 4 million entries being logged in early November 2017.
Ongoing efforts to translate ALA documentation into French, as well as any new modules and elements created during the international ALA workshop planned for February 2018, will help make this increasingly shared infrastructure more accessible and visible to GBIF’s Francophone nodes.