Lifemapper2 is an open source project building upon the successful Lifemapper distributed computing project to create an archive of potential species distribution maps accessible through spatial data services based on OpenGIS standards. Lifemapper2 uses museum specimen data archived by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and accessed through their web services, climate data from the current and future International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate scenarios, software built upon the openModeller ecological niche modeling library, and a 64-node compute cluster for computation. The resulting data may be applied to organismal distribution and dispersal scenarios such as predict potential impacts of climate change, loss of biodiversity, spread of invasive species, and emerging diseases.
Lifemapper2 utilizes a variety of standards and open source tools to expose information to the biological community and general public. The Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL), PostgreSQL, PostGIS, and Mapserver create, analyze, and store data in the pipeline of the system, while Sun Grid Engine and openModeller schedule and create the niche models on a 64-node compute cluster. The components of this modular system communicate with each other using REST services and Open Geospatial Consortium WFS and WCS standards.
The services provided by this project provide inputs for more user-friendly software tools for biological collection data integration and analysis, thus providing the foundation for a new pluggable, extensible architecture binding the services, functions and methods of different applications. The end results will improve quality of data collected and provide support to researchers in studying species’ actual and potential distributions.
Aimee Stewart has a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Geography for KU. She has worked in the GIS and Remote Sensing fields for the last 12 years, focusing on software development and mapping applications in the Informatics department of the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute since 2001. After her initial seduction by proprietary software, she came to her senses and now uses open source tools whenever possible.