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ArcGIS Conservation Data Model Planned

Esri and ABI to Develop Conservation Tools

Esri and the Association for Biodiversity Information (ABI) have formed a strategic ABI logoalliance with the goal of advancing tools and information to guide conservation decision making and to protect biological diversity.

The heart of the partnership is a commitment to work together to develop a GIS-based data management system for conservation comprising the core features and functions required by the conservation and planning community. Esri will work with ABI, a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to developing and providing conservation and biodiversity information, and with other partners to develop the system.

This spatially enabled data management system will be the foundation of a cutting-edge, GIS-based decision support system that will include advanced analytical and visualization tools, field mapping and data entry tools, as well as spatial modeling predictive tools to aid scientific studies and decision making. The GIS system will be designed to meet the exacting requirements of the conservation professional, planning, and scientific communities as well as the needs of the general public. Esri and ABI will also develop a customized, Web-based software module to meet the special requirements of ABI and the Natural Heritage Network, a network of 85 independent centers in the United States, Canada, and Latin America that collect and manage data about plants, animals, and ecological communities.

ABI and the Natural Heritage Network maintain databases that are the most authoritative sources of geographically referenced information about the biodiversity of the western hemisphere. ABI and the Natural Heritage Network use a standard methodology to collect and manage this data, consistent not only across continents but also across time, and benefiting from two decades of continuous ecological inventory and database development. Esri and ABI will work together to document and publish these standards and methodology in the form of a biodiversity data model for conservation users. This publication will be consistent with the existing series of Esri-published object data models (see "Esri Develops Industry Data Models").

"This alliance for ArcGIS will serve as a model to promote other partnering between the Business and not-for-profit sectors to meet the environmental challenges we will confront in this century," comments Jack Dangermond, president of Esri.

Adds Mark Schaefer, ABI's president and CEO, "With this new decision-support system, we hope to bridge the chasm between the traditional planning community and the conservation sciences, making biodiversity information an integral part of decision making at all levels."

For more information, please contact Charles Convis, Esri (tel.: 909-793-2853, ext. 1-2488; e-mail: cconvis@esri.com).

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