Biodiversity Informatics and Spatial Analysis

Applying computational techniques to analyse, edit, curate, organise, mine and disseminate data and to evaluate trends and patterns through time and space.

Drone image of canopy in Rio Branco

Acting head of department: Dr Alan Paton

The vast amounts of data held in our collections and associated databases represent a huge, often untapped, resource. The Biodiversity Informatics and Spatial Analysis (BISA) team’s role is to enable access to this data and to disseminate it. We also evaluate trends and patterns through time and space (geographical, meteorological and ecological) to enable a new level of use of the collections.

Department priorities  

  • To maximise the impact of the Plants of the World Online portal - an online global resource for disseminating Kew's plant and fungal data to a wide range of audiences. 

  • Developing a plant and fungal names backbone to link databases and improve access to the vault of information held in our collections and nomenclatural and taxonomic databases. Providing critical evidence to meet policy and operational needs both for the UK and international agenda.  

  • Curating key global plant and fungal nomenclatural and taxonomic resources, including the International Plant Names Index, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, The Plant List and Index Fungorum.  

  • Developing Kew’s capabilities in intelligent data analysis (data mining, machine learning and artificial intelligence), re-purposing our data holdings as training data for machine learning applications.  

  • Applying sophisticated spatial and analytical tools to greatly enhance our ability to address critical knowledge gaps.  

  • Expanding the capacity for powerful spatial analyses, ecological modelling and the analysis of genomic data in order to develop the tools and web-based platforms for the display of plant data alongside satellite imagery and climatic data. 

Department teams

  • Plants of the World image

    Biodiversity Informatics

    Software development of Plants of the World Online, names and taxonomy management systems and related software products.

  • A web of data

    Intelligent Data Analysis

    Applying machine learning and data mining techniques to enable wider scale trends analysis across Kew’s data holdings and to gain efficiencies in digitisation and data management. 

  • Researcher looking at plants in Kew's Princess of Wales Conservatory

    Plant and Fungal Names Curation

    Managing Kew's names and taxonomic databases including International Plant Names Index, World Checklist of Vascular Plants and Index Fungorum.

  • False colour imagery of rift valley

    Spatial Analysis and Data Science

    Exploring botanical big data with computational and statistical models in conjunction with field monitoring techniques and equipment.