K309 Gustaf

The Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility FinBIF - an integrated open data infrastructure supporting research and decision-making in conservation.

(Oral and Poster)

Leif Schulman
Aino Juslén
Kari Lahti


FinBIF was established to accelerate digitisation, mobilisation, and distribution of biodiversity data and to boost its use in research, administration, and the private sector. The core of the service has been built in a 3.5-year project ending in June 2018. The service has been operational since 2015, but it is continuously being developed. FinBIF comprises (1) a growing network of generators of data (species observations, specimens in collections, DNA barcodes); (2) a data warehouse integrating copies of primary datasets; and (3) the portal / where anyone can search the data and download it for use. FinBIF is built to mediate all open-access biodiversity data in Finland. Currently all major Finnish natural history collections are starting to share their digitised data through FinBIF, as do several species survey and mapping initiatives run by the Finnish Museum of Natural History LUOMUS, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Natural Resources Institute Finland Luke, Parks & Wildlife Finland, and a number of other, primarily non-governmental organisations.

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility GBIF is the international forerunner of the service model implemented by FinBIF. However, while GBIF already shares around a billion data points, it exhibits two main limitations: (1) the growth of the GBIF-mediated data largely rely on national initiatives feeding data into GBIF, and (2) GBIF is not primarily directed to support national or local application; lack of spatial resolution and coverage of data often hamper such use. FinBIF remedies this situation by mobilising large masses of spatially accurate data on species from Finland and neighbouring areas. It also provides means to partners and individuals to record, compile, manage and share their own observation data.

In addition, FinBIF integrates the service model of GBIF with that of the International Barcode of Life project iBOL (, which is creating a digital identification system for life by utilising DNA barcodes (sequence diversity in short, standardized genome regions). DNA barcodes facilitate accurate and automated identification of organisms independent of phase of development and of sample size and quality. The Finnish initiative, FinBOL, which works on completing a DNA barcode reference library for the Finnish biota, is integrated with FinBIF, thus combining specimens and barcodes with spatially and temporally extensive occurrence records.

Finally, FinBIF covers also digitisation of natural history collections. The national collection management system Kotka ( holds a rapidly increasing digital record of Finnish collections and it feeds directly into

Examples of research utilising FinBIF-mediated data include species distribution modelling, studies of the effects of climate change on biodiversity and other bioclimatic studies, development of nature conservation methodology, and the analysis of species’ threat status trends.