In light of growing threats to species diversity from causes such as climate change and habitatdestruction by humans, it has become increasingly important to have readily accessibleinformation on species diversity and biogeographical distribution. The Global BiodiversityInformation Facility (GBIF) is an online database of information on global species distribution,primarily derived from museum data collections. The age of digital photography has broughtwith it the ability to
tag” image locations for photographs taken of wildlife.
Crowd sourcinghas become a topical issue in recent years, and has been implemented successfully in otherdisciplines to obtain valuable information (Eiben
“Overlap”, a computer script written for the purpose of determining the degree of overlap
between biodiversity data contained on GBIF and Flickr, the present paper attempts to determinethe potential utility of online image sharing facilities such as Flickr for improving our knowledgeof biodiversity and species distributions.
Twenty of the world’s most endangered species are
selected for analysis, and potential drawbacks of using such facilities are considered. Todetermine the extent to which the presence of animals in wildlife parks and zoos is responsiblefor incongruity between GBIF and Flickr, and the presence of animals well outside their naturalhabitats, the analysis was repeated for eleven
organisms including species of fungi, insects and crabs. To evaluate the potential bias against species which live in undevelopedregions of the world (where digital photog
raphy is less common), a “heat map” of geo
-taggingactivity across the globe was produced. Results indicate the need for measures to limit the inputof error and for identifying and correcting erroneous records.