The Atlas and eBird

To: Michael Norris <>
Subject: The Atlas and eBird
From: Chris Sanderson <>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 2015 06:13:10 +0000
Michael I remember back in the early days of eBird they used polygons for
sites, I presume this was moved away from for a good reason.  Accuracy
estimates could come from gps recorders (I know my iphone gives me an
accuracy estimate when I make a waypoint for a species, generally between
5-10m). I think as long as data is tagged with sources and collection
methods in the metadata, then the more the merrier. Why exclude data
because of possible errors? Yes, your consultant report is a good example
of possible issues, but what are the risks of turning away data? How much
valuable information do we then lose that stays in someone's notebook?

eBird, as stated already a few times, has a pretty robust moderation
system, as does the Atlas. They work differently, and they both miss things
(the moderators are only human after all). But they are the best we have
and personally I think are doing a pretty amazing job when you consider the
state of databases for mammals, frogs, reptiles, butterflies, dragonflies,
etc. on a national scale.


On Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 2:50 PM, Michael Norris <>

> Hi all
> Just checked BirdLife and there is an Atlas FAQ that says there are plans
> and discussions underway to exchange data between eBird/Eremaea and the
> Bird Atlas.
> That strengthens my concern that there should be ways, especially on
> eBird, to report apparent errors.  Is there any?
> I know of quite a few errors from my patch, some of which appeared in a
> consultant’s report.  I very much doubt that the errors affected any
> conclusions but it offends my sensibilities – call me old-fashioned? - to
> see inaccuracies on the public record.
> Some of the difficulties/errors  are because eBird, like the BirdLife
> Atlas and the ALA, uses specific points for records although people will
> often (for good reasons) refer to a wider area.  Bunyip State Park in
> Victoria is an example where this 80? sq km hotspot includes half-a-dozen
> more specific locations.   This becomes a particular problem when data is
> transferred to the Atlas of Living Australia (that uses an accuracy
> estimate – how?) or BirdLife where the focus is on 2 hectare and area
> searches.   Some of the older records use grid squares.
> I suspect defining sites as polygons or circles would be better – but we
> are so lucky to have what we’ve got already.
> Michael Norris
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