First, I feel fortunate to be part of the Atlas of Living Australia. It is a true trailblazer. ALA was an early adopter of digital technology and saw the potential of open source technology to break down barriers for research, enhance analytical capabilities and promote collaboration and data sharing. It paved the way for many other digital programs here in Australia and internationally.
I’m especially excited to be working with the ALA team. It has a strong culture of innovation and a productive work ethic enabling us to harness the power of digital technologies, creating impact and efficiencies across many areas of biodiversity research and management.
I come to the ALA with a background in spatial sciences, environmental modelling and analysis and eco-informatics. I spent eight years with CSIRO’s former Sustainable Ecosystems division working with brilliant research teams addressing important national natural resource management challenges. From there, I took up an opportunity to help establish the Bureau of Meteorology’s newly-formed Environmental Information Program that included leading the design and delivery of the National Environmental Information Infrastructure. More recently, the Data Services team was leading the operation and enhancement of the Australian Water Resources Information System, a national data infrastructure for water data similar to what the ALA has achieved for biodiversity data.
I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead in leading Australia’s largest biodiversity database – getting to know the talented ALA team, our stakeholders including data providers and users, and continuing to embrace the opportunities that arise from blending biodiversity science, digital technologies and big data. We have an exciting time ahead.
Finally, I’d like to extend a big thank you to Hamish Holewa and the ALA team for a great hand over and excellent first couple of weeks, and invite you to enjoy this edition of our newsletter. You will find a great mixture of articles about how the ALA is used, news about our partners, technical updates, and useful links. We also extend a welcome to new ALA users who took part in the Magical Land of Oz citizen science project between the ABC and ALA.
Dr Andre Zerger