The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation's Biodiversity Informatics Facility at the American Museum of Natural History strives to utilize information technologies in biodiversity research and applications while developing and promoting the effective use of these technologies for the conservation of biodiversity. The Biodiversity Informatics Facility is accomplishing this goal largely through the use and development free and open source resources.
The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation is undertaking several projects in Vietnam's Annamite region and at selected sites in Lao People's Democratic Republic with the overarching goal of conserving the unique biodiversity within these regions. In May 2007, CBC Staff traveled to Vietnam and the Lao People's Democratic Republic to train conservation practitioners in incorporating geospatial technologies into their biological and ecological monitoring activities.
For these workshops, Quantum GIS, a free and open source desktop GIS, was used as the principle application for viewing and integrating workshop participant's existing spatial data. The focus of the 2007 workshops was on how to use eVis (The Event Visualization Tool), a plugin for QGIS that the Biodiversity Informatics Facility is developing. eVis allows protected-area managers and other conservation practitioners to easily import and visualize location-based data (e.g., wildlife observations, illegal logging events, camera trap photographs, landscape modifications, etc.) in a mapping environment.
eVis has primarily been developed to easily view geocoded photos associated by attributes to features in the QGIS mapping environment. eVis has been developed in an adaptable way to allow for maximum usage. Geocoded images can be loaded from a local disk or remotely using the http protocol. Feature data can be any data type readable by QGIS or eVis can be used to connect to a database to build a new point layer based on the results of a SQL query. eVis can also be used to visualize the locations, attribute info, and photographs associated with data from Mist (protected area data management software), QuBa (Vietnam data entry system), any MySQL, SQLite, MS Access database, or any ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) resource. This extensive connectivity is vital to assure compatibility with the range of different databases in use.