Data Basin Turns 10 Years Old!
July 30, 2020 -- On the heels of Data Basin’s success over the last decade, we now embark upon a new phase for the platform.


James Strittholt, Ph.D.
President | Executive Director

Ten years ago, this month, CBI launched Data Basin, our online science-based mapping and analysis platform. Within the last decade, we’ve gone from zero to:

      • 34,000 Members                                     
      • 15,000 Maps
      • 1,000 Public and Private Groups                 
      • 31,000+ Datasets (1/3rd are private)
      • 1,000+ Galleries                                       
      • 150 Guides and Case Studies

The numbers are impressive, but Data Basin has never been about the numbers; Data Basin is ultimately about people and the belief that all people - regardless of scientific or technical background - should be able to access, collaborate around, and utilize scientifically-grounded spatial data for transparent decision-making. 

While Data Basin has many uses, people from diverse sectors (e.g., tribes, non-profits, universities, government agencies, and corporations) share that the platform is unique in that it is easy to use and provides the access, the science, and centralized collaborative space for stakeholders to participate more meaningfully and efficiently in natural resource planning. Over the last decade, Data Basin has grown to be the ‘go-to’ platform for many people interested in transparent, collaborative decision-making involving spatial data. Below is a handful of the myriad ways in which Data Basin members and groups utilized the platform over the last decade.

  • Effective planning and renewable energy siting requires significant communication and transparency (of processes and data) across multiple sectors, whose priorities often seem mutually exclusive. Data Basin continues to be essential in planning offshore wind energy development in California (also see here). The platform was also used in the California Statewide Energy Planning effort, which achieved aggressive renewable energy goals with minimal damage to natural systems. The project identified 470,000 acres of least-conflict land for renewable energy development in the San Joaquin Valley of California. 

“We set out to show that multiple & disparate parties could identify least-conflict areas for siting of solar projects in the San Joaquin Valley in a matter of months rather than years, for a reasonable cost, and that the maps could help streamline siting of projects. This approach works. It is now incumbent upon us to take advantage of it.”

~Ken Alex (Senior Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown and Director of Governor’s Office of Planning and Research) 2016

  • Water management is of paramount importance, especially in a state like California where water fuels the economy. CBI and American Farmland Trust, the organization behind the national movement No Farms No Food®, continue to build off their previous work on the San Joaquin Land and Water Strategy. CBI and AFT have compiled informative datasets related to soils, crop types, water infrastructure, and conservation areas in the San Joaquin Valley. These are located in a San Joaquin Valley Gateway Gallery and mapping tool (with an associated manual) to aid in identifying optimal projects with the greatest potential to increase infiltration and conserve water. 
  • Many practitioners find Data Basin extremely useful in the collation and integration of important biological and environmental information. The Florida Conservation Planning Atlas (CPA) is a data discovery, visualization, and analytical platform for stakeholders throughout Florida. The CPA provides a platform for conservation partners and stakeholders to create galleries to showcase a cohesive collection of spatial information and supporting documentation. CBI has worked for years with USDA Forest Service to create an exciting visualization tool for exploring bat monitoring data across North America: the Bat Acoustic Monitoring Visualization Tool , powered by Data Basin. To date, this tool allows users to visualize over 6 million bat detections from more than 34 species.  We expect that existence of this new and powerful tool for visualizing results will inspire even greater rates of data contributions from a wide variety of users from citizen scientists to graduate students to industry group.
  • Wildfire and climate change impacts are key priorities for communities across the globe. One Data Basin member created an interesting gallery focused on the 2019 Australian bushfires. The gallery gives a detailed evaluation of Walcha, a district in the state of New South Wales, on the loss of protected areas and biodiversity in the form of forest types. As the Earth’s climate changes, many plant and animal species react by shifting their geographic ranges. As a result, resource managers are now faced with the challenge of developing and implementing strategies that will support wildlife adaptation to climate change. Recognizing a need for clarity within this field, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences convened a working group of the nation’s leading conservation biologists, modelers, and policy makers to develop a guidance tool for integrating natural adaptation strategies into the context of natural resource planning and policymaking. The tool released several years ago, The Yale Mapping Framework, was designed to assist resource managers plan adaptive approaches to the impacts of a changing climate. The content and guidance created from this effort are even more relevant today as they were when first developed.

On the heels of Data Basin’s success over the last decade, we now embark upon a new phase for the platform. Please stay tuned as Data Basin strives to help people make better decisions in a world that seems increasingly small and desperately in need of building solutions together.

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