More GCER news!

Those who are familiar with GCER will know that we rely heavily on our faithful Biodiversity Information Officer, Holly York. Well, as it turns out, she’s not actually all that faithful – she’s leaving us! But only for a year, on secondment to the Wales Biodiversity Partnership in Cardiff. Holly’s Technical Officer post will be  hosted by the Welsh Wildlife Trusts at their office in Cardiff Bay.

Whilst Holly is away, we will have a temporary Biodiversity Information Officer who will start in February and carry out our commercial data searches, enquiries, mapping and other tasks. Hopefully this won’t cause too much disruption, and it will be a worthwhile bit of experience both for Holly and for her stand-in.


GCER’s online maps

A belated Happy New Year from GCER!

In response to the many “casual” recorders who get in touch with us from time to time asking us to provide maps for their surveys, we have added a location mapper to the GCER website. This has a range of familiar base maps such as Open Street Map, Bing aerial maps, National Geographic etc., plus some layers added by GCER.

The mapper allows us to make online maps a bit more convenient for recorders. It is freely accessible and just needs a web browser, an internet connection and an up-to-date version of a Flash Player plugin – which many web users will already have, or can download for free if necessary. It was free for us to set up, and is fairly simple to use. We’re hoping it will bridge the gap between the more restricted Google Maps, and the very complex, full-scale GIS mapping applications that we use in the GCER office.

We added the mapper because web maps aren’t generally in “UK National Grid” projection, can be difficult to locate tetrads or other recording areas on, and can be awkward to print out as paper maps for field surveys. The online mapper allows for basic labelling of a map, a better choice of backgrounds than most, and easy saving of a given map to an image file that can be printed out or included in another document.  As an introduction, just a few extra Gloucestershire-related layers have been added. Current layers, which you can tick on or off, are:

  • Grid square outlines e.g. 10km squares;
  • GWT nature reserve outlines
  • Nature Map areas

You can click on each feature/nature reserve/grid square in a layer, to see a name and description. There are also a few tools to help use the mapper, such as “bookmarks” of favourite areas, an address search, a key to the Nature Map layers, and so on.

The introduction page is here:

and the direct link to the Atlas is here: – or just click on the map on the previous page. Note that the various layers, and the mapper itself, can take quite a while to load if you have a slow internet connection, so you may need to wait a bit for each layer to appear after you’ve ticked it.  However,  so far we have found it to load reasonably fast even on smartphones* and over the rather weak Wi-fi at Robinswood Hill.

Many GNS members, especially regular recorders, will already have the mapping facilities they need, but we’d still be grateful for feedback about how useful you think this mapper is likely to be for new or “casual” recorders who are perhaps just getting into more structured kinds of recording.


*If you’re feeling adventurous and have a smartphone you can try downloading Puffin browser; unlike many mobile web browsers, Puffin supports Flash content, so should show the mapper – although it will be rather small!


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