17 Nov 2014

BirdLife International uses new platform to tell conservation stories

This new tool allows data to be showcased in an interactive way
By Martin Fowlie

BirdLife International has started using a new media-rich information sharing technology to tell its conservation stories in a more indepth and interactive way - beginning with the story of IBAs in Danger.

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are places of international significance for the conservation of the world’s birds and other nature, with over twelve thousand having been identified worldwide. IBAs are the largest and most comprehensive global network of important sites for nature conservation. Now, 356 of these – known as ‘IBAs in Danger’ – have been identified in 122 countries and territories as being in imminent danger of being lost. 

The new platform (an Arc GIS Online story-map journal) has been developed by the world leading mapping software company, Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) as part of its spatial data visualisation suite, ArcGIS. The technology allows users to incorporate interactive mapping output alongside media-rich content such as images, text and graphics that allow the viewer to be taken on a journey through the data which includes context and other elements important to fully understand what they are seeing.

This approach will allow BirdLife International to tell a story (in this case about its IBAs in Danger) and to go beyond simply presenting passive data – however interesting.

Explore the map 

John Cornell, BirdLife’s Global Information Management Coordinator said “Esri’s Story Map application gives us a fantastic information sharing and visualisation platform to tell our conservation stories in a more interesting and richer way and to help us better engage important new audiences.”

Allen Carroll, Program Manager for storytelling at Esri said, “Esri is thrilled to have BirdLife join our rapidly growing community of geo-storytellers. GIS is a vital tool for analysis, planning, and decision support for organizations like BirdLife International. It’s also key to informing and inspiring the public about important issues, including protecting wild birds."

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The BirdLife International initiative (IBAs in Danger) is an attempt to identify a subset of the 12,500 global sites through their Global Partnership that are at most risk of damage or destruction and to raise awareness of their plight in order to ultimately save the sits for biodiversity and people.