WiMBY (What's in My BackYard)
The information below was first published in NBN News in Autumn 2007. Things have now progressed and most of the information is now redundant, it does however still serve a purpose of explaing how SNH originally used web services.
WiMBY is a joint project between Scottish Natural Heritage and the NBN Trust that provides the facility to view information about species around us. Using the NBN web services the site extracts data from the NBN Gateway and presents it in an easy to view format. As well as linking to datasets with a distribution map on the NBN Gateway, species sightings can also be viewed on interactive Google mapping. A link to ARKive has also been incorporated to provide an image of the selected species as well as links to other useful websites.
How it works
Search by place name, postcode or grid reference
This is the first instance of SNH utilising the new Web Services developed by NBN (See NBN News: Issue 33.) WIMBY has a gazetteer that allows users to search on their home town or village, mountain top or protected area. It will also search by grid reference or postcode. After setting the parameters of the search (for example 5km around Dunkeld), a list of species is returned that are present in the search area.
After selecting a species from the returned list, sightings of that species can be viewed against a GoogleEarth map with the option of a satellite backdrop. Choosing a sighting indicator on the map opens a dialogue box showing details of the species record including the data contributors. These maps are interactive and can be moved from side to side or up and down by a ‘grab-hand’ icon to increase the reach of search.
Species sightings shown on Google map
An image of the chosen species can be viewed from the ARKive website. This image also incorporates a link to the site that provides further photographs and associated information for the species of interest.
There is also a link direct to the NBN Gateway to the relevant area distribution map for the chosen species and access to all the other Gateway functions.
Full details of records for the chosen species extracted from the Gateway can be viewed in a table format in the Species Tab along with details of data ownership in the Contributors Tab.
Details of Data Contributors
Delivery of species data
SNH are working with an increasing number of voluntary organisations including RSPB, Scottish Ornithologists Club, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Highland Biological Recording Group and the Botanical Society of the British Isles. Through grant aid, SNH are helping these organisations to mobilise their records of species onto the NBN Gateway.
Greater public engagement
The potential end-users for this information are many and varied. Teachers, school pupils, planners, farmers, estate managers, industrialists and tourists are amongst those who we hope will find out about and use WIMBY. Their uses for the data and motivations for visiting the site will vary from group to group, but what this new user community will have in common is that they
will be accessing a trusted source of information that they have probably not dipped into before now.
WIMBY will undergo developments and enhancements as more data is added to the NBN Gateway. SNH have taken the lead in developing WIMBY, but we are keen to share this development with other groups and organisations. Greenspace information for Greater London (GIGL) have subsequently ploughed resource into the project, which has delivered further enhancements to the interface and provided their group with their own version of WIMBY for the Greater London Area. We see this as an ongoing process and we look forward to other organisations from the public, private or voluntary sector taking specific developments forward that will further enhance aspects of the interface. SNH are also looking into developing WIMBY as an educational tool in the school curriculum.
SNH Information Service
WIMBY is part of SNHi, the new information service available through the SNH website.
The site comprises a suite of interfaces developed to provide access to a wide variety of data and information on the natural heritage.
Why not visit SNHi and try them for yourself.
WIMBY was developed by James Perrins (ExeGesIS)
For more information or comments please email WIMBY@snh.gov.uk