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Updated version of DOPA Explorer released

12 December 2013 | Article

The Beta version of DOPA (Digital Observatory for Protected Areas) Explorer, a key component of BIOPAMA which will provide the technical backbone of the Programme’s Regional Reference Information Systems (RRIS), was released in November 2013. Developed by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in collaboration with the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), IUCN, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and BirdLife International, DOPA Explorer Beta is the first web based tool documenting 9,000 marine and terrestrial protected areas that are greater than 150 km2.

DOPA Explorer can help identify the protected areas with the most unique ecosystems and species and assess the pressures they are exposed to as a result of human development. Explorer can also provide ecological data derived from close to real-time earth observations. Inversely, DOPA Explorer indirectly highlights the protected areas for which the information is incomplete.

Available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, DOPA Explorer is the first interface to the Digital Observatory for Protected Areas that is conceived around a set of interacting Critical Biodiversity Informatics Infrastructures (databases, web modelling services, broadcasting services) hosted at different institutions. Articulated around seven fundamental assessment, monitoring and modelling services, DOPA is designed to provide a broad variety of end-users, ranging from park managers to funding agencies and researchers, with means to assess, monitor and possibly forecast the state of, and pressure on, protected areas at local, national and global levels.

Current developments are focusing on DOPA Validator, which will allow registered users to validate or invalidate the information summarized in DOPA Explorer, as well as provide additional observations about individual protected areas. Because DOPA Explorer is generating the core indicators automatically, ground truth validation is essential, in particular for those areas where information is scarce or where models give poor results. The BIOPAMA regional observatories will therefore play an essential role as the exchange platform where in-situ information can be gathered to validate or invalidate the often uncertain national and regional information used by policy makers.

Explore the Beta version of DOPA at this link.

Screen capture of DOPA Explorer Beta showing data on species and habitat of the Luengué protected area (Angola)

Photo: JRC

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An Initiative of the ACP Secretarist, funded by the European Union under the 10th EDF