Robert Milne

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Research@Locate Presentation:
Engaging communities for prioritising natural resource management and biodiversity conservation actions

Robert Milne, Research Associate at the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation, Federation University Australia


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5 Things You Will Learn

  1. Providing a platform and tools to self-manage knowledge and data engages and empowers communities
  2. Acknowledging and valuing community knowledge and priorities leads to improved engagement and partnerships
  3. Creating knowledge repositories, sourcing legacy data and developing data standards is important for sharing of information and providing data for decision making
  4. Providing “decision useful” information to community and stakeholders is an important consideration in developing online resources and tools
  5. Open data, open source technology and interoperability underpins knowledge sharing for improved decision making and practice change

Target Audience

These projects have wide application across multiple sectors due to the underpinning philosophy of open sources knowledge sharing. While the technology and approach outlined here relate to the biodiversity and NRM sectors, the principles are easily transferred to any discipline that collects, stores and disseminates information. This research will be of relevance to a wide range of organisations including government agencies, non-government organisations, community groups, not-for-profit organisations and the private sector. This is reflected in the partnerships across other CeRDI projects including local government, Research and Development Corporations, the Environment Protection Authority, CSIRO and Landcare Networks.

Presentation Overview

Management (NRM) through the acquisition and sharing of knowledge. Innovative online technology is playing an increasing role in the support and implementation of citizen science activities. Two projects being conducted in Victoria are using web-based spatial applications to facilitate and support the use of community sourced information for natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. The Natural Resource Management planning portal (NRMPP) is a regional catchment planning tool designed for Catchment Management Authorities and Landcare organisations to plan and prioritise natural resource management works. State-wide Flora and Fauna Teams (SWIFFT) is network of community groups, individuals and organisations that is underpinned by online technology to share knowledge and data on biodiversity issues throughout Victoria. Open source web-based spatial platforms are being used to deliver existing data from multiple sources, provide tools for the entry of spatial data and to provide information required for decision making. The focus of the two projects is to build knowledge management systems with tools that can be used by the community, land managers and other stakeholders to manage, control and share their own data in an online environment. Submission and sharing of community biodiversity and NRM data using online spatial platforms, and federating it with regional, state and national environmental data is facilitating community engagement and providing a process for identifying opportunities to collaborate on NRM activities and biodiversity conservation projects.


Robert has worked in environmental science and GIS for over sixteen years, on a range of natural resource management issues with local, state and national stakeholders. My current research interests include: technologies for citizen science in natural resource management, web-based spatial systems and knowledge sharing in agriculture.