Monday 18 June 2012

Launch of the Canadensys explorer

At Canadensys we already adopted and customized the IPT as our data repository. With the data of our network being served by the IPT, we have now built a tool to aggregate and explore these data. For an overview of how we built our network, see this presentation. The post below originally appeared on the Canadensys blog.

We are very pleased to announce the beta version of the Canadensys explorer. The tool allows you to explore, filter, visualize and download all the specimen records published through the Canadensys network.

The explorer currently aggregates nine published collections, comprising over half a million specimen records, with many more to come in the near future. All individual datasets are available on the Canadensys repository and via the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) as well. The main functionalities of the explorer are listed below, but we encourage you to discover them for yourself instead. We hope it is intuitive. For the best user experience, please use an up-to-date version of your browser.

Happy exploring:


  • The explorer is a one page tool, limiting unnecessary navigation.
  • The default view shows all the data, allowing users to get an overview and explore immediately.
  • Data can be queried by using and combining filters.
  • Filters use smart suggestions, informing the user how often their search term occurs even before they search.
  • The exact number of results is displayed, including the number of georeferenced records.
  • The map view displays all georeferenced records for the current query, has different base layer options and can be zoomed in to any level.
  • Points on the map can be clicked for more information.
  • The table view displays a sortable preview of the records in the current query.
  • Records in the table can be clicked for more information in the same way as on the map.
  • The number of columns in the table responds to the screen width and can be controlled by the user in the display panel.
  • Data for the current query can be downloaded as a Darwin Core archive. There is no limit on the number of records that can be downloaded.
  • Users can download the data by providing their email address. Once the download package is generated, the user receives an email with a link to the data, information regarding the usage norms and a suggested citation.
  • The interface and emails are available in French and English.

As this is a beta version, you may encounter issues. Please report them by clicking the feedback button on the right, which will open a report form.

Technical details

The Canadensys explorer was developed using the following open source tools:

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