Thursday, September 22, 2011

From Problems to Solutions

We've just held our first NPT technical meeting in Brussels. After a lot of care was devoted to capturing and analyzing what the potential users of the NPT would want (Scoping and Requirements) and how the system should behave in many different circumstances (Software Requirement Specification), we were finally able to go into the solutions during a focused workshop recently organized. Considering the extent of the GBIF network, the extreme heterogeneity of the wishes and needs of the community, the fast pace of technological developments and the time constraints, we found that applying a one-size-fits-all approach will simply not work. Nevertheless, the NPT will provide a custom solution which will be fit for many situations.

The NPT Technical Task Force (TTF) agreed:
• To have a phased approach for implementing the NPT, provisionally referred to as NPT1 and NPT2
• That both implementations will be based on the Drupal framework which supports the development of custom community-driven modules
• That both NPT1 and NPT2 will interact with the GBIF registry and the GBIF Data Portal via web services
• That both NPT1 and NPT2 will retrieve GBIF content through the GBIF Data Portal

Briefly, NPT1 will be just focusing on basic need of national nodes that have no IT capacity at all, which will have a set of functionalities allowing nodes to obtain web presence. NPT1 will be introducing the necessary modules to interact with GBIF web services, which will be further used in NPT2.
Encapsulating the modules and profiles of NPT1, NPT2 will introduce a sophisticated geospatial component which will allow nodes to process, manage and visualise biodiversity data directly within the NPT.

An information document will soon be circulated as part of the information package for the NPT session of the Nodes Global meeting, as well as a detailed report for the TTF meeting. Both documents will be posted on the NPT Google Code site and on the NPT GBIF community site.

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