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The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international organization that makes biodiversity data from around the world accessible on the internet through it’s web services. This data is mostly available in the form of distribution records of various species from around the world. The data is donated by academic organizations and individuals, around the world, and can be used to form distribution maps showing the extent of the range of many different species.

GBIF was officially established in 2001 after a recommendation in 1999 by the Biodiversity Informatics Subgroup of the Megascience Forum, which was set up by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The recommendation states the need for the existence of an international mechanism that would allow global biodiversity data to be accessible to the world as such a mechanism would produce innumerable economic and social benefits while aiding in sustainable development.




The occurence of records in the GBIF database can be mapped out or visualized using google maps which is integrated with the site. As is done in this case for an individual of a species of marine fish.


The GBIF network also comprises of many local country level nodes which are set up using toolkits made up of code and data freely available through GBIF. Capacity building workshops, mentoring and training activities are also conducted by GBIF for specialists belonging to and working for country level nodes. These nodes help to collect distribution data on the biodiversity of their own countries as well as help to inform their citizens and policy makers about biodiversity. Such nodes often conduct events and activities where citizen scientists are encouraged to participate in the collection of data and facilitate the transfer of biodiversity distribution records and similar data from citizens to GBIF.  

Hundreds of millions of records of distribution points for more than one million species are freely available through a single point of access, namely it’s website cum data portal ( By providing this data freely, GBIF greatly facilitates conservation research and management planning. It’s interesting to note, that academic organizations are not the only ones encouraged to contribute to GBIF’s databank, individuals with biodiversity data can also contribute their data and have it published to GBIF as a database of biodiversity data records.


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