The CIEEM Code of Professional Conduct states that members shall “wherever possible, make scientific data collected during the course of their professional duties available to others such as records centres.”


Sharing ecological survey data, however, is not always straightforward – there can be issues around client permission, verification, data formats, and there can be a time and cost implication.


CIEEM is therefore working with the National Biodiversity Network Trust, the Biological Records Centre and the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres to develop a biodiversity data management website for ecological consultants to simplify the sharing of data.


This website, the Consultants Portal, connects with the Biological Records Centre’s community warehouse so that taxon records can be validated and verified and loaded onto the NBN Atlas efficiently and quickly.


Key features include:

Data entry forms designed to suit specific survey methodologies.

Data entry in the field (via smartphone or tablet) or in the office.

·         The ability to set a data release date for each project as agreed with the client.

·         A range of data download options including GIS formats.

·         The ability to tag records as ‘sensitive’ to restrict their availability to only approved users.


The system enables consultants to share their records without any extra effort.  Data will be shared via the NBN Atlas and made available to national recording schemes and local environmental records centres.


A steering group has overseen development of this website to ensure that the system fulfils consultants’ requirements and makes their work easier.  The steering group members represent both large and small consultancies with specialism in a range of habitats and species.  They began by describing the data they collect and the formats in which they present it to clients, and provided initial ideas on features they would like to see in a data management system.  A specification was drawn up based on their suggestions and used to develop this prototype site.


If you have any suggestions for improvements, or would like more in depth training on using the Consultants Portal, please contact us at consultantsportal@nbn.org.uk.


This project has been developed by the NBN Trust with support from Defra, Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres and the Biological Records Centre