Who Developed the Federal Avian Data Center?

Sponsors of the Federal Avian Data Center currently include 7 federal agencies with representation on the Council: the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM), Department of Defense (DOD), Federal Highways (FHWA), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

What is the Purpose of the Federal Avian Data Center?

Federal agencies recognize that access to the best available information, data, and decision support tools will help these agencies and their constituents implement informed bird conservation actions and comply with bird conservation laws. Federal agencies identified the Avian Knowledge Network (AKN) as an already existing and growing network of avian data, tools and partnerships; and recognized an opportunity to build upon this already existing infrastructure to develop a system that would help federal agencies and their constituents achieve their conservation and compliance goals with regard to migratory birds.  As a result, several federal agencies sponsored and launched the development of the Federal Avian Data Center. 

Prior to the development of the Federal Avian Data Center, the AKN was comprised of a series of regional or thematic nodes, which focused data and tools solely on one particular bird conservation issue or region of the United States. Furthermore, nodes were not connected to each other within the system. So, although there were many good data sets in different nodes throughout the AKN, the data could not be easily extracted together or aggregated quickly for analysis.

To address the “data disconnect”, federal agencies sought through the development of the Federal Avian Data Center to modify the AKN infrastructure on the back end to allow for data (no matter which AKN node it has been entered into, previously or in the future) to be aggregated and accessible to users through tools like the AKN Phenology Tool,  the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC) Tool and the  AKN Observations Map.  The funding also covered the development of tools like the Bulk Uploader and Data Downloader tools to make it easier for users to add and extract the data, and the Data Catalog to allow users to explore and discover the various AKN datasets, and enable the ability to contact data owners, if desired. Many of these tools have now become core tools of the greater AKN, which visitors of any node can access and utilize along with node-specific information and products.

Federal agencies can utilize these new tools, along with other existing tools both inside and outside the AKN to look at data and do analysis at a variety of scales, and across geospatial boundaries, and manage and input their own datasets. Meanwhile, the webpages associated with the Federal Avian Data Center are  meant to centralize resources that provide federal agencies with quick access to data entry tools; as well as the information they need to do better and faster environmental assessments for birds and have access to best available conservation measures and best practices for doing better bird conservation and avoiding and minimizing impacts to birds in their daily activities.

To learn more about how the Federal Avian Data Center can help federal agencies, their constituents, and others with interest in birds and bird conservation, visit Uses of This Data Center . To see examples of how a number of audiences can benefit from the full wealth of tools and information in the AKN, see AKN User  Examples.