About Guernsey Biological Records Centre
Established in 2003
The Guernsey Biological Records Centre (GBRC) was officially established in 2003 by La Société and the States of Guernsey, with Charles David and Bridget Ozanne as joint managers.
By October 2003, over 18,000 records of rare and unusual bird sightings from the Bailiwick have now been imported to the database, partly due to the large amount of data that Charles and Bridget had put in before the Records Centre even existed.
Environment Guernsey Ltd. manages the Records Centre on behalf of La Société Guernesiaise and the Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services Department (ACLMS) of the States of Guernsey to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for information on sites, habitats and species in the islands that make up the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
History of the Records Centre
Dr Charles David, a prolific entomologist, developed Distmaps using Perry’s Guide as the map. Distmaps was a suite of database programmes that allowed him to map out over 25 years of insect data he had collected. He was keen to develop a programme that would enable the easy input of records, particularly where there may be only one or two in any one area, and where the records could then be viewed as a map and viewed in conjunction with other data such as habitats or physical features such as roads, streams etc.
Bridget Ozanne, La Société Guernesiaise’s Botany Section secretary, started using Distmaps to record botanical data. As the software was based on map locations, it was both user friendly and easy for field recorders to enter and map their data, in contrast to commercial recording programmes then available.
2003 – GBRC officially established
Bridget and Charles became joint managers. Bridget concentrated on entering many thousands of botanical records from the Botany Section records and the Transactions into Distmaps.
Charles continued to improve the programme and enter entomological data. Jane Gilmour, Conservation Section Secretary, started entering field data from various meetings and data collecting trips.
Data started to be sent to the BSBI, Moth Count and a few other recording schemes in the UK and they responded to a range of data requests, both small and large as GBRC became better known.
Bridget passed away. Charles remained as sole manager with Jane as his assistant. Charles focused on the emerging workstream of species identification queries, while also continuing to enter records and send data to an increasing range of recording schemes in the UK.
By the end of 2007, there were 237,300 records held and by the end of 2011, this had risen to 456,163.
History of the Records Centre - Cont.
2012Jane took over running the GBRC after Charles’ death in October 2012.
2013Julia Henney, now Guernsey’s Biodiversity Officer, joined the Records Centre. Her work was mainly focused on tidying up the database and working on bulk imports of records.
2014Julia left the Records Centre to focus on establishing La Société’s Conservation Herd but continued to be involved with IT support through her role as GIS technician at Digimap.
2018Charles’ Distmaps was ahead of its time but increasing advanced in computer technology were causing conflicts. In 2018, a new Distmaps Pro database programme was developed by Digimap. This is compatible with ArcGIS Pro and in May 2018 we migrated to the new platform.
2019Jane retired in July 2019 for a well-earned retirement. In November, Elizabeth Sweet was appointed to post.
2020This was a year of firsts, including Guernsey’s first ever BioBlitz, launch of new citizen projects and office relocation to Raymond Falla House.
In our rapidly changing world, it is vital we understand this as most human activities interact with the planet, from plastics, to climate change, biome shift, biodiversity and more. Advances in technology present us with incredible opportunities to record, monitor, protect species, advise on strategy and educate and engage the community. Data cannot simply sit in an archive, when it can be applied to the benefit of both us and our environment.
Working closely with La Société Guernesiaise, the Biodiversity Partnership, the States of Guernsey and others we believe community engagement, collaboration with other organisations and data sharing are vital to reinvigorate interest in Biological Recording and the Records Centre.
- Elizabeth Sweet, Manager
The GBRC collects, manages and shares information about all aspects of Guernsey’s wildlife, ecology and natural environment
To help to sustain and enhance the biodiversity of our islands to enrich the lives of local communities and future generations
- Working together
- Educate and inform
- Promote conservation