FAQ - The Living Atlases community

What is the Atlas of Living Australia and its infrastructure?

“The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) is a collaborative, digital, open infrastructure that pulls together Australian biodiversity data from multiple sources, making it accessible and reusable.” You will find more information on the Atlas of Living Australia and its infrastructure on their website. Since 2013, they modified their infrastructure to be modulable, translatable, and reusable by other institutions.

What is the GBIF?

“The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international network and data infrastructure funded by the world’s governments and aimed at providing anyone, anywhere, open access to data about all types of life on Earth.” You will find more information here.

What is the Living Atlases community?

GBIF nodes and institutions interested in the ALA tools have created the Living Atlases community. The main goal is to create a powerful community of developers that can help each other, developed new features that can be useful for the community, and improved the main project. You will find more information on the About page of this website.

What do I need to do if I want to join the community?

First, welcome! We are happy to know that you are interested and want to join the community! The first step is to contact both the technical and administrative coordinators. They will help you with the first steps and add you to the Slack channel, a place to ask any technical questions you may have.

We will recommend you to register to the mailing-list. You will get all the information regarding project calls and future workshops.

The community set up different tools and documentation that might help you install your Living Atlas instance as the Generator-living-atlas (more information here) or the LA Quick Start Guide (more information here). You can contact Vicente to organize a remote session to know more about the tools and the installation process. You will find more information here.

Is it free to use the ALA platform?

The Atlas of Living Australia infrastructure is an open-source project, it is free to use or reuse. But, you will need to use the same licenses. All the tools, remote sessions, and helpdesk are also free to use.

However, the installation and maintenance of a data portal based on the ALA platform are not free. You will need to have servers and at least one developer dedicated to the project. Even if the ALA team and the community put an effort to facilitate the installation, it is still a complex infrastructure. You will need at least one technical staff dedicated to this.

As we want to be a durable community, we wrote a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), and we accept financial or in-kind contributions. These contributions will help to organize technical workshops, remote sessions, translation, and improving the documentation. If you need more information, you can contact the administrative coordinator. You can find the MoU over here.

Who do I need to contact if I have technical questions?

To ask technical questions, you can use:

Do I need to be a GBIF node to be part of the community?

No, even if GBIF supports us, you don’t need to be part of GBIF to join the community. However, we will promote data management and data tools (such as the IPT) developed by GBIF and its network.

Does the tools translatable?

Yes, thanks to the Living Atlases community, the ALA tools have been translated into several languages. You can find more information on the Crowdin project page. We proposed a management system for the internationalization of a Living Atlase (more information here)

Where can I find the technical documentation?

Everything is available on the ALA GitHub technical wiki. We recommend you to start with the LA Quick Start Guide. We know that the technical documentation is not perfect, and we put a huge effort into improving it as much as we can. Different tools have been created to help developers to use the ALA platform.