The Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre is reliant on a wide range of IT systems. These systems form a cornerstone of the record centre’s ability to rapidly respond to enquiries, input and validate data, and provide services to our partners, commercial organisations, the Sussex recording community and the general public.
The core of the record centre’s day-to-day operation is formed around our main database: Recorder 6. This software stores all of the species and habitat records we are in custodianship of. In addition, it holds details of Sussex locations, recorders and source literature.
Recorder 6 provides a great deal of flexibility and control over biological data, and acts as a standard framework within which to exchange datasets among organisations and individuals. Crucially, Recorder 6 allows for room to grow our information-base thanks its modular architecture, its flexibility, and its poweful underlying database technology: Microsoft SQL Server.
Geographic Data and Analysis
Raw biological data, when taken in isolation, can only reveal so much about our natural environment. It’s when we combine and analyse these data spatially — putting them into a geographic context — that we start to see patterns, notice trends and become able to communicate the essence of the data to the broadest possible audience.
The record centre holds an array of habitat, site and spatial data. We bring these data together, analyse and output using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) driven by ESRI ArcGIS 9. ArcGIS also provides the tools that enable us to integrate with the Recorder 6 database.
The record centre runs a variety of bespoke software, which enables us to provide a fast and efficient enquiry response service. The service makes use of RPLUS, an advanced custom-reporting utility developed by Littlefield Consultancy. We also have software — LC Sussex Control — that enables the rare species inventory co-ordinator and the protected species register co-ordinator to inspect, validate and tag records for inclusion in the Rare Species Inventory and Protected Species Register. For survey data we have the Environmental Survey Directory (ESD). This holds metadata (information about data) on surveys that have been carried out in Sussex. This database allows us to enter survey information and retrieve it for inclusion in enquiry responses.
Recorders use a variety of software to store records, including Excel, custom Access databases, Recorder 3 and MapMate. We try to ensure that we are able to accept records from any source - a recorder shouldn’t be penalised for their recording software choice. Our preferred source of records - and indeed the easiest to accept - is in Recorder 2002 format; we can also accept records from MapMate users. Excel spreadsheets are also relatively easy for us to import. We have designed an Excel tool - Species Recorder - that can aid in data entry (more information on this can be found on the Species Recorder page).
Whatever recording software you are using, please do give us a call (or drop us an email) so we can discuss how you might submit data. We are also able to offer advice on choosing the right recording package for you, and how to go about using it.