habitat INFO

Apr 102014


  • Database stands at 60776
  • 606 records received during March 2014
  • Automatic registration put in place

It’s been another productive month for the ARDB; the database now stands at 60,264 records which is fantastic!  We’ve had 72 records in for Cameroon from Robbie Whytock which has helped boost the record density in an otherwise sparsely covered area (see map below).  Andre Botha has kindly submitted a further 581 records he gathered during January in South Africa.  From Clive Barlow we’ve received 213 records he’s collected in The Gambia and he’s also passed on data from Simon Cavaillès for Senegal (a total of 880 records).

We’re currently holding records of Hooded Vultures from Clive Barlow and the records he passed on from Bruno Bargain for Senegal.  Joseph Heymans has also submitted 19 records from South Africa.  We’ll enter these records into the ARDB as soon as time and verification of data permits.

Please keep sending your records in; the next target is 70,000 records!

Best wishes,

The ARDB team


The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works at the crossroads of livestock and poverty, bringing high-quality science and capacity-building to bear on poverty reduction and sustainable development. ILRI works in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and China.

ILRI is a non-profit-making and non-governmental organization with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and a second principal campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They employ over 700 staff from about 40 countries. About 80 staff are recruited through international competitions and represent some 30 disciplines. Around 600 staff are nationally recruited, largely from Kenya and Ethiopia.

More information available at http://www.ilri.org/


The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. They are not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development. The World Bank Group comprises five institutions managed by their member countries.

More information available at http://www.worldbank.org/


Andrew Rayner is an independent IT consultant with over 20 years of software development experience using a wide variety of platforms, development languages and RDBMS. In particular, Andrew has a wealth of experience integrating geographic information systems and the internet. He has a bachelors degree with majors in Computer Science and Geography and a masters degree in Geographic Information Management.

Andrew has previously been employed by Birdlife International (5 years) where his responsibilities and primary experience included creation of all mapping for publication and analysis purposes, and managing all spatial datasets; the design and development of the World Bird Database with features including an expert system for Red List categorization and architecture allowing for a hierarchical system of deployment and data distribution and re-incorporation; development of a script writing application for automating multiple map production in MapInfo.

More recently, Andrew has worked for the National Soil Resources Institute at Cranfield University (6 years) where he was responsible for the establishment and ongoing management of a web-based GIS facility for the NSRI and responsible for the design, development and implementation of web based and other client/server systems to service their client and in-house requirements for access to and manipulation of their Land Information System (LandIS) data holdings. This included a web based mapping application for public access to the NSRI freely available spatial and spatially related data (SoilScapes) for public education and promotion. Integration of the SoilScapes application into the Soil-net.com primary schools soils module web site. A web based mapping application (Soils Site Reporter) to allow for the purchase of detailed location based reports using on-line payments (via WorldPay integration). A web based mapping application for spatial data extraction clipped to user specified criteria (uploaded spatial data files – ESRI Shape files). A Windows CE application for in-field collection of plant species data (FloraGPS). The application is used on generic hand-held GPS receivers. He was also involved in a collaborative project (Soil Forensics) with the Macaulay Institute in Aberdeen where he designed and developed an application for soil sample spectrographic (FTIR/XRD) properties comparison (SoilFit). Andrew also developed the prototype web based GIS tools for the Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW) project in collaboration with a number of other universities. Andrew also gave course lectures on the Advanced GIS module and Spatial Data and the Internet module in the Geographic Information Management (GIM) MSc degree.

As an independent developer Andrew’s work includes the development of the Migratory Soaring Birds web tools for Birdlife International and automation of livestock mortality modelling for Habitat INFO along with the development of their Android mobile application, African Raptor Observations, used to capture and convey field observations of African birds of prey into a remote live data observatory, the African Raptor DataBank (ARDB).

Technologies include:

Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, SQLite, SQL Server CE, GpsGate, Actionscript, ColdFusion (CFML), AXL, ArcIMS, ArcSDE, Crystal Reports, ArcObjects, ASP.NET, VB.NET, CE.NET, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Java, C#, Python, PHP, XML, Android.


MSc (Geographic Information Management) Cranfield University (2004)
BSc (Computer Science and Geography) University of South Africa (1999)

To contact Andrew please e-mail him using info@habitatinfo.com

Jan 102014

It’s been a great 2013 for the ARDB… the record count now stands at an impressive 57,547 which spans a total of 25 countries. We’ve had contributions from a wealth of people and are very grateful for the submissions to date! Please check out the end of year review which is available to download from here

More information can be found on the resources and status pages…

Here’s to an even better 2014!

Thanks again and keep on submitting those records!

The ARDB team

Aug 192013

habitat INFO are keeping up the pace with the ARDB and continually rolling out new developments.  This month we have developed new Java based webmaps for viewing and editing (Our editing webmap requires registration) which we hope will improve the experience of our users.  We have also extensively worked on the database schema over the past few months in order to make sure its as comprehensive as possible.  We aim over the coming months to further improve the Java webmaps and explore mobile data collection.


BirdLife International is the world’s largest nature conservation Partnership. Together they are 120 BirdLife Partners worldwide – one per country – and growing.

They’re driven by their belief that local people, working for nature in their own places but connected nationally and internationally through our global Partnership, are the key to sustaining all life on this planet. This unique local-to-global approach delivers high impact and long-term conservation for the benefit of nature and people.

BirdLife is widely recognised as the world leader in bird conservation. Rigorous science informed by practical feedback from projects on the ground in important sites and habitats enables us to implement successful conservation programmes for birds and all nature.

They believe that their actions are providing both practical and sustainable solutions significantly benefiting nature and people.

More information about BirdLife International can be found at http://www.birdlife.org/


habitat INFO worked closely with the client, BirdLife International, to develop a bespoke web mapping tool. The project area covered the Red Sea and Rift Valley flyway; an important corridor through the Middle East and North-East Africa for migratory soaring birds on their journeys between their breeding grounds in Europe and Wintering grounds in Southern Africa. The goal was for a tool which enabled the end user to identify the overall sensitivity of migratory soaring birds within a given area to wind turbine development.

habitat INFO were involved throughout the process from helping to develop the algorithm defining the sensitivity of each species, through the organisation of the underlying database (Combining multiple data sources) to the serving of this data via an Adobe Flash based web tool. The tool leverages powerful capabilities giving the end user the ability to search a specific area (With different methods of defining this) and allowing them to produce well-presented and informative reports (In some cases ~600 pages in length).

The project followed a very tight timeframe but despite this habitat INFO delivered each milestone on time and delivered the finished product within the timeframe allowed. This was largely down to the excellent dialogue between ourselves and BirdLife International and the effective project management from both sides.

Example report…

Oct 192012

Dr. Rob Davies along with the Peregrine Fund has today launched the ARDB at the Pan-Africa Ornithological Conference in Tanzania.  More to follow.

Find out more about the project here and check out the project’s resources here.



The African Raptor DataBank (ARDB) is an innovative project designed to ascertain the conservation status of raptors and their habitats across Africa.

*State of the Databank, including monthly and annual review documents

which species are monitored?
A full listing of African raptor species is provided here.

how can I get involved?
By registering with us here and then submitting your records of raptors using our new Android app or spread sheet.  The user guide for the Android app may be downloaded here

You can see the growth in the database on our public webmap below.
We are in the process of updating our editing interface in javascript.
Monthly project updates are available here.
ARDB income and expenditure statement 2011 – 2017

support the ARDB
The ARDB is a non-profit project run by habitat INFO. We have the support of many organisations (see below) in the form of data and software licensing, and we provide the mobile apps for free to enable anyone, anywhere in Africa to share their observations of African raptors through this live data observatory.  The project requires maintenance and development so we would be very grateful if anyone is able to donate to these activities using the button below. We can assure any funders that their donations will be ring-fenced and used entirely on the ARDB project.

for more information 
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what is the ARDB?
The ARDB aims to ascertain the conservation status of raptors and their habitats across Africa, and to help build the local expertise needed to monitor these indicator species in the future and implement a sound strategy for their effective safeguarding.  The project will be completed in two phases. The first phase involves building a database over a period of five years (2013 – 2018).  The second phase involves distribution modelling of each species in relation to the availability of its habitat and production of a conservation atlas for African raptors, online and hard copy. The project is managed by Habitat INFO and co-funded by The Peregrine Fund who act as the regional coordinators for East Africa (along with National Museums of Kenya).  The Bird of Prey Working Group (Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa) acts as the regional coordinator for southern Africa, while the West African region is coordinated by Ralph Buij (Centre for Environment and Development Studies, Cameroon), Joost Brouwer (NiBDaB – Niger Bird DataBase) and Clive Barlow (Senegambia).  North Africa is coordinated by Hichem Azafzaf of Birdlife Tunisia (AAO).

ESRI software providers have helped the ARDB by granting us access to state of the art mapping software through the ESRI Grant Scheme.

The Convention on Migratory Species, Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Bird of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MoU) and Kurt Eckerstrom Consulting have supported the development of the Android App.

Data exchange mechanisms are being investigated with the following similar recording programmes: Namibian Avifauna Database, South African Bird Atlas, Tanzanian Bird Atlas, G-bird. Pilot studies on distribution modelling have been conducted at the Universities of Pretoria and Cape Town.

There are six objectives:-

  1. to establish a secure and easy to use communal store for data and observations on African raptors across their distribution ranges
  2. to use this live data observatory to continually assess the status of raptor populations in Africa and to rank the immediacy of the threats that they face notably: habitat loss, poisoning, trade etc.
  3. to use these observations to identify the exact habitat of each species and use the improving environmental datasets to assess the past, present and future conditions of that habitat and so improve our conservation assessments for each species
  4. to use these observations to study seasonal and inter-annual movement patterns of raptors across Africa and help identify locations of risk to migrants
  5. to use raptors to identify key habitat strongholds for their populations and by default populations of many other wildlife species in Africa both inside and outside protected areas
  6. to build a community of raptor enthusiasts and experts across Africa who can lobby for the preservation of those habitat strongholds and key migratory sites.

The following documents provide more information about the project and how the data collected will be used:


ARDB partners


habitat INFO take the management of spatial data seriously.  Working on projects referencing in excess of 200 datasets requires systematic organisation, particularly when multiple members of the team are involved.  That’s why we’ve developed practices to help us catalog and locate the data we use regularly.  We use ArcCatalog to manage our spatial data and ensure metadata is kept up-to-date.

We’ve worked on large projects requiring the development of data catalogs and packaging and dissemination of physical datasets.






WWBIC are one of four Local Records Centres which together serve as a biodiversity data storage and management facility for the whole of Wales.  Each LRC acts as a regional node in the National Biodiversity Network and is defined as: a not-for profit service run in partnership for the public benefit, which collects, collates, manages and disseminates information of known quality relating to the wildlife, wildlife sites and habitats for a defined geographic area.

More information can be found at http://www.wwbic.org.uk/

SeaTrust Logo

SeaTrust are a Community Interest Company based in Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, in West Wales. SeaTrust operate on a not for profit basis and all kinds of marine life are surveyed, monitored and recorded by Sea Trust volunteers in Pembrokeshire – Common, Bottlenose, and Risso’s Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises, Whales, Seals, Sharks, Fish, Jelly Fish, Turtles and Plankton.

More information can be found at http://www.seatrust.org.uk/


The Peregrine Fund is a non-profit dedicated to saving birds of prey from extinction. Throughout the world, birds of prey are threatened by shooting, poisoning, and loss of habitat. Saving these birds is an effective means of conserving the rich diversity of life that is critical to the future health of our planet and the well-being of generations to come.

Since theirbeginning in 1970, The Peregrine Fund has been a small, nimble organization that is able to respond quickly to emerging needs. They take pride in being a common-sense, elbow-grease, no-frills, hands-on group of dedicated professionals. They tackle only those projects for which they are the most qualified and where a definite need exists. And they always strive to leave a lasting result.

More information available at https://www.peregrinefund.org/


Established in 2001, OneWorld is a privately owned sustainable development organisation operating primarily in Africa, with bases in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Mozambique.

With their strong base of regional partners, OneWorld adds value by working at the interface where scientific research, policy and development intersect. Their work is by its nature interdisciplinary, but with three distinct outputs: applied research; technical analysis and advice; and publishing.

More information available at http://www.oneworldgroup.co.za/