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Visualising a century of platypus sightings

Users and uses of TERN data are proving to be as diverse as the data themselves. Join us as we showcase one TERN user’s engaging visual data story of 100 years of platypus sightings using Tasmanian State Government data openly available via TERN.

“TERN has excellent data for publishing visual data stories on Aussie plants and animals,” says Jonni Walker, a UK-based TERN user and author of The Data Blog and Data Darer.

Jonni’s stunning visuals of Tasmanian platypus sightings use TERN-delivered state government data capturing more than 100 years of platypus observations for 277 waterways across the breadth of Tasmania.

Jonni downloaded the open data via TERN’s AEKOS data portal, analysed and synthesized the information, then stitched it all together using the self-service analytics software Tableau to produce his ‘Platypus Dashboard’.

“I couldn’t resist the platypus dashboard,” says Jonni. “All the ingredients were there for a good story. There was easy access to excellent data, a prehistoric animal with some seriously weird biology and excellent visuals and videos: the perfect storm.”

The Tasmanian Platypus Survey dataset has been submitted into TERN’s AEKOS data portal by Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE). It contains historic records from 1901 to 2007 that were compiled and analysed to run a comprehensive survey across Tasmania and King Island between 2008 and 2009.

Open-access via TERN is, for the first time, enabling the ecosystem science community to view and download site data on platypus observations, collection methods and the relationship among observations.  It is this centralisation and increased accessibility to the dataset that also contributes to the enduring knowledge base for this precious creature.

  • Click here to access the Tasmanian Platypus Survey dataset via the TERN Data Discovery Portal
  • TERN AEKOS currently makes openly available high quality, scientific survey data from over 95,000 sites; over 1,000 surveys with complete metadata; and Australia-wide in-situ species and environment data. It also houses a large number of critical state and territory government survey and monitoring datasets.
  • More information on the dataset and the infrastructure making it openly available can be found in this previous TERN eNewsletter article and in this Tasmanian Geographic story.
  • Jonni Walker is a UK-based Business Intelligence Analyst (Twitter) who is passionate about producing high quality data analytics to communicate amazing data stories. He’s a featured Tableau author and also authors The Data Blog and Data Darer.

Published in TERN newsletter October 2017

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