Species.fi | Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility


FinBIF in a nutshell

The aim of the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility (FinBIF) is to coordinate the collection, analysis, reporting and archiving of Finnish biodiversity data. Both governmental and non-governmental organisations that collect or work with biodiversity data will be invited as participants.

Main responsibilities for FinBIF will be:

  • maintaining taxonomic information
  • collection and distribution of observational data
  • data archive
  • maintaining identity data
  • coordinating locality information
  • data policy

FinBIF can be implemented as a virtual organisation that is built on the existing know-how and infrastructure of its participants. Resources are needed for coordinating the co-operation between the participants as well as creating and administering technical interfaces. This can be achieved by describing the functioning of FinBIF as enterprise architecture (EA).

Maintaining taxonomic nomenclature

The basis of working with biodiversity data is the taxonomic nomenclature, used to connect data on species characteristics and occurrence. Maintaining the nomenclature is a demanding task, both on national and international level.

FinBIF maintains and shares national taxonomic nomenclatures that are based on the newest scientific information. They make it possible to process data relating to characteristics and occurrence of organisms in a consistent manner. Without common "reference nomenclatures", the possibilities for connecting different datasets or searching for data on organisms are very limited. The task is made demanding by the fact that Finland alone has estimated 55000 species, and each known scientific name of a species can contain dozens (sometimes even hundreds) of synonyms.

Collection and distribution of observational data

FinBIF maintains a national data warehouse that houses duplicates participating organisations' observational data on species occurrence. The most important details on observational data are species names, locality data (place names and coordinates), observation date and names of observers. In addition, metadata relating to observational methods and conditions can be published for observation data gathered for different purposes.

The national data warehouse distributes observational data both in original form and as refined lists, statistics, maps and diagrams. The need to restrict information relating to endangered or otherwise protected species is taken into account when collecting and distributing data. Observational data is quality-checked and all noticed errors will be corrected before distribution.

The data warehouse will also function as the Finnish node for the global GBIF initiative. It will be used for the largest part of distribution of Finnish observational data for international use. FinBIF can also function as a gateway to other biodiversity networks around the world.

Data archive

FinBIF will maintain a national data archive of biological observational datasets. Researchers can use it as a long-term storage to archive their data in. FinBIF also offers a multitude of analysis and visualisation services for the archived data.

Maintaining identity data

When estimating the reliability of organism observation it is important to know who has made the observation. FinBIF will coordinate the identity data in the databases of its participant members, so that the observer data in datasets from different sources can be processed in a consistent manner.

Coordinating locality information

FinBIF aims to unify the locality and coordinate data used in the description of observational locations, in order to make comparing datasets from different sources as easy as possible.

Data policy

FinBIF aims to promote the collection and open distribution of biodiversity data by providing the participating organisations with a recommendation on a common data policy.


Data gathered to the portal from different sources.

Photos: Ant: Wikimedia User Sandstein CC-BY, Owls: Wikimedia Bent Christensen CC-BY-3.0, Deer: Lynette Schimming Flickr: EOL Images CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

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