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New database to manage pests better

CSIRO : 29 April, 2002  (New Product)
CSIRO technology is at the heart of a new database that will enable researchers to better manage damaging exotic and local plant pests. CSIRO's Internet Marketplaces technology has been used to integrate a collection of plant pest records from databases across Australia, providing comprehensive query access to these records via the Internet.
The Australian Plant Pest Database is funded by Plant Health Australia and managed by the Office of the Chief Plant Protection Officer in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australia. It provides Australian plant health scientists access to specimen records including insects, nematodes, fungi, bacteria and viruses that attack plants of significance to Australian agriculture and biodiversity.

'Our Internet Marketplaces technology is a distributed database system that works as an information broker, allowing heterogeneous electronic collections from agencies across Australia to be accessed via a national web portal,' says senior computer scientist at CSIRO, Dr Kerry Taylor. 'It enables the viewer to access data from disparate sources, dynamically and seamlessly.'

The IMP tool is a unique approach to information management and integration. It enables organisations to combine information assets, regardless of what format they are in and where they are held. The technology provides Internet or intranet access to dispersed heterogeneous information sources, with the data combined and viewed in a way to suit the viewer.

'We are developing the underlying theory and creating solutions for integration of web services,' says Dr Taylor. 'We specialise in information systems architectures, methodologies and tools for information infrastructures in government and large corporations and invite contact from organisations interested in working with us.'

'The APPD integrates existing reference databases enabling efficient retrieval of detailed information,' says Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer, Dr Bill Roberts. 'The system will provide critical support to decision making during emergency management of incursions by exotic plant pests, bids for market access and justification of quarantine measures to exclude potentially harmful, exotic organisms.'

The APPD partnership has successfully brought together Commonwealth and State agencies. Data providers in the initial phase of the project are CSIRO, NSW Agriculture, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Department of Natural Resources and Environment Victoria, and Western Australia Department of Agriculture, with further agencies from state government, university and industry to follow in subsequent phases.

Access to the APPD will initially be restricted to Australian government scientists directly involved in plant health and biosecurity issues in Australia.

CSIRO's Internet Marketplaces group is part of the CRC for Enterprise Distributed Systems Technology.
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