GBIF handles massive amounts of primary data collected from lot of different providers. They asked us for help to integrate this data with the World Database on Protected Areas from UNEP-WCMC.

The goal was the development of a widget able to show in a combined way the species occurrences information for each Protected Area.

What we made

  • Interaction and visual design
  • Frontend and Backend development
  • Data analysis and processing
  • GIS development
WCMC-Widget WCMC-Widget

    The main goal of the project was to provide an engaging experience understanding biodiversity on each protected area.

    From the technical point of view, the challenge was to achieve a way to intersect more than 170 million records from GBIF with 150,000 areas from the World Database on Protected Areas. This process could become a big issue with several days of complicated processing.


    We tried using 2 different strategies for the processing:

    • Relational databases (PostGIS) for the short term, limited in scalability (up to 17h to process data)
    • Map/Reduce strategy (Hadoop) for the long term, much quicker, paralyzing the problem in Amazon EC2

    A mix of other technologies and APIs were used. Java, AMF, Flex, Google Maps, Geoserver, Geowebcache...


    The project is a great demonstration of the joint projects that GBIF and WCMC can handle together. The Protected Areas provide context to Biodiversity data and the other way around.

    Started only focusing on Spain and Madagascar and, when the solutions were proven, it was scaled to all countries and all protected areas.

    Checkout the following video.


  • WCMC-Widget

    Data download

    The user can download the data in different formats. That allows users to later perform other analysis.

  • WCMC-Widget

    Embedabble widget

    The widget can be embedded on other websites interested only on a certain country or particular area.

  • WCMC-Widget

    Context via web APIs

    Using Wikipedia, Panoramio, Flickr, Google Images, etc. It is all about context and there is nowhere better than Internet for that.

We take enjoyment in being a small and productive company that delivers great user experiences for stories that matter

Hey, this site doesn’t support Internet Explorer 6!

Old internet browser flaws and errors are holding back innovation, so we at Vizzuality decided not to support IE6 in our web site. However, you can explore it safely, although you can experience some visualization problems.

By the way, you should really upgrade your browser. Learn why.