NatureMapping Foundation

NatureMapping Data

The NatureMapping database is the broadest and most current biodiversity database for Washington State. Additionally, NatureMapping data have been used to update and verify the U.S. Geological Survey's Gap Analysis Program (GAP) range distribution maps. Bioblitz data have been used for land management purposes providing baseline data for private and public lands.

Data Validation Method

One of the most frequently asked questions about NatureMapping's data is "how reliable is it?" Can our customers depend on our data with confidence? Who validates our data and how do we weed out bias or inaccuracies?

The NatureMapping Program has demonstrated that individuals trained in the NatureMapping process are highly motivated to deliver accurate sightings. Furthermore, emerging technologies allow users to collect accurate locations, attached pictures or videos increasing the accuracy of their submissions.

The observational data submitted to the NatureMapping Program goes through several rigorous layers of scientific analysis:

  1. All incoming data is overlaid onto federal U.S. Geological Survey Gap Analysis Program (GAP) range maps. If a data point falls within the map, it is accepted at a COARSE scale, meaning that the record is likely correct, but will be re-confirmed if a closer look (FINE scale) for that species is warranted.
  2. In the case of a rare, threatened or endangered species, the data record is always subjected to a FINE scale review, and NatureMapping staff contact the individual who submitted the record.
  3. If a data point falls outside of the expected range distribution map, NatureMapping staff contact the individual who submitted the record to collect additional information.
  4. If a sighting is recorded in our database as "unsure of the species", it is not mapped, but held in a separate file pending verification.
  5. If a sighting is recorded in our database as "sure of the species, but it shouldn't be there" it is not mapped until a local investigation is conducted.
  6. NatureMapping online data screens accept photos that are linked with the location.
  7. Data collected via the NatureTracker software are georeferenced with lat/long. Photos can also be attached to the data.

Accuracy and Neutrality

Because the NatureMapping Program is neutral, yet proactive, in preserving biodiversity within the communities, the Program has helped people overcome the fear of "What if they find something on my land?" syndrome. Instead, the NatureMapping Program provides the information necessary for landowners and regulatory agencies to work in partnership with each other. Through this collaborative effort businesses, farmers, landowners, communities, and governments all benefit as well as the species on the land.