Users improve mapping tool in data portal

The map display in the ÆKOS data portal has been improved, a direct result of feedback from users of the alpha version released for testing last year.

The Australian Ecological Knowledge and Observation System (ÆKOS) is part of the Eco-informatics facility. The ÆKOS development team at Eco-informatics has responded to early feedback and a new version of the ‘alpha’ data portal has been released.

Mr Martin Pullan, the software development manager said that testers gave the ÆKOS team some ‘really valuable’ suggestions for improving several features in the first release of the alpha version of the data portal.

‘The first set of enhancements enables a targeted view on the search results in the mapping display. What you see now in the portal is a good example of the type of mapping functions users can expect to see in the public version,’ Martin said.

‘We’ve also added a “log off” function and new labels for the detailed results panel in the middle window of the portal display. We’ve renamed the old “Graph View”, which is now called the “Ontological View”; and the old “HTML View” has become the “Data View”. The label “Ontological View” better reflects the content of the display — it’s a diagram of the pieces of information (concepts) present in the available ecological datasets and the relationships linking them, which is known as an ontology.’

The director of Eco-informatics, Mr Craig Walker, said the facility was grateful to the many data custodians and information services managers who have provided feedback.

‘We welcome continuing feedback on the portal, as it’s vital to the ongoing development and success of ÆKOS. We’re particularly interested in engaging with scientists and environmental data custodians to draw on their expertise to ensure we deliver a valuable product,’ Craig said.

If you are interested in contributing to the portal development, you need to apply for authorisation at the ÆKOS website, where you will also find a video that will help you to operate the portal and understand the concepts used. Feedback can be given using an e-survey form via the Feedback button on the portal.

The public version of the portal is likely to be released in December 2012.

For more information about Eco-informatics and ÆKOS, visit the facility’s website or contact staff.

Published in TERN e-Newsletter February 2012

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