Promoting Synergy in the Innovative Use of Environmental Data

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File ReportHealy Hamilton

From December 2 to 4, 2015, NatureServe and the U.S. Geological Survey organized and hosted a biodiversity and ecological informatics workshop at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. The workshop objective was to identify user-driven future directions and areas of collaboration in advanced applications of environmental data applied to forecasting and decision making for the sustainability of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Substantial effort to recruit attendees from diverse Federal, State, and private sector organizations successfully attracted participants from 20 Federal agencies and 48 different institutions in the academic, nonprofit, State government, and commercial sectors; the total number of attendees ranged from 100 to 144 during the 3-day workshop. The first one-half of the workshop was divided into 7 plenary sessions and 3 sets of lightening talk sessions organized by sector, providing 48 oral and visual plenary presentations that shared diverse perspectives on biodiversity and ecological informatics, including original biospatial analyses from 6 graduate student map contest winners. The second one-half of the workshop focused on 10 breakout sessions with participant-driven themes from the environmental data sphere and concluded with an address by the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The workshop was structured to encourage interactivity. About 80–90 percent of attendees provided direct feedback using clicker devices for specific questions related to biodiversity and ecological data uses and needs, and 10 breakout session leaders shared the highlights of their group discussions during the final workshop plenary sessions. Participants were encouraged to use the Twitter hashtag #ShareUrData. Over lunch on day 2 there were 20 simultaneous presentations of tools and apps during a special “Tools Café” session.

NatureServe Author(s)


  • Hamilton, H., Guala, G.F., and A. Simpson