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Re: An Elephant is Faithful 100%

From: "Marc G(dot) Fournier" <scrappy(at)postgresql(dot)org>
To: Chris Travers <chris(at)travelamericas(dot)com>
Cc: Josh Berkus <josh(at)agliodbs(dot)com>, pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: An Elephant is Faithful 100%
Date: 2005-11-21 02:32:40
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-advocacy
I can donate a development server for this, if its required ...

On Fri, 18 Nov 2005, Chris Travers wrote:

> I can donate some time.
> The best email for getting in touch with me about this is 
> chris(at)metatrontech(dot)com
> Josh Berkus wrote:
>> Folks,
>> I recently received the following appeal from the African Elephant 
>> Database.   They need help migrating to PostGIS and building out their 
>> application. 
>> I, personally, cannot imagine a more compelling project which deserves the 
>> PostgreSQL community's collective help.   The elephant is our mascot! 
>> Plus the AED folks introduced the idea of making this a general OSS project 
>> for species conservation databases.
>> Who's available?
>> ---------------------------
>> I'm writing with to explore the possiblity of a collaboration between
>> Postgresql, PostGIS and the African Elephant Database (AED) of the IUCN/SSC
>> African Elephant Specialist Group (AfESG). Please allow me to begin by
>> giving you a little background on all those acronyms, in reverse order.
>> The AfESG is a group of elephant experts from across the African continent
>> who, aside from their daily jobs, disinterestedly lend their skills to
>> provide technical advice on elephant conservation and management. The
>> mission of the AfESG is to promote the long-term conservation of African
>> elephants throughout their range, and the group focuses its efforts on
>> capacity building, alleviation of human-elephant conflict, compilation and
>> dissemination of technical information, and the development of elephant
>> conservation strategies. Led by a volunteer chair, the AfESG has a small
>> secretariat in Nairobi, Kenya. Please see for
>> details.
>> The AfESG is one of the most active of over 120 Specialist Groups of the
>> IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). The largest conservation grouping 
>> in
>> the world, the SSC is a worldwide network of over 7,000 volunteer experts
>> working to conserve the diversity of species found on Earth. The SSC is
>> responsible for the production of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
>> See and 
>> The SSC is the largest of the six commissions of IUCN - The World
>> Conservation Union. IUCN is the world's largest and most important
>> conservation network. The Union brings together 82 States, 111 government
>> agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and some
>> 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide
>> partnership. IUCN's mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies
>> throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and
>> to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically
>> sustainable. The World Conservation Union was founded in October 1948
>> following an international conference in Fontainebleau, France. IUCN HQ is
>> in Gland, Switzerland. See
>> The African Elephant Database
>> The AED is a geographical information (GIS) system used to maintain an
>> accurate and up-to-date record on the distribution and abundance of African
>> Elephants. The AED is regularly updated, with data on elephant range and
>> numbers constantly being solicited from wildlife authorities and experts
>> across the continent, and a major report is produced every three years and
>> made available in the AfESG website (see
>> The AED currently runs in ESRI ArcGIS 9.1., in a personal geodatabase (MS
>> Access) format. We obtained ArcInfo through one of ESRI's conservation
>> program grants - but soon we were being asked to pay for maintenance 
>> charges
>> in excess of USD3,000 per annum. Despite these costs, we are considerably
>> constrained by the limitations of the set-up - including the MS Access 2Gb
>> size limit. If we were to upgrade our configuration to a full geodatabase
>> would involve acquiring ESRI's Spatial Database Engine (SDE) plus a
>> commercial RDBMS such as Oracle, DB2 or MS SQL server, at a one-off cost of
>> several thousand dollars and annual maintenance fees to match. 
>> Such costs are well beyond our reach, we are hoping to build a more
>> sustainable solution using open source software. Although opensource GIS 
>> has
>> not evolved as much or as quickly as opensource relational databases, we do
>> have some hopes that a suitable system could be developed to maintain the
>> AED. The AED is the most comprehensive species database in existence, and 
>> we
>> believe there would be value in developing a turnkey solution that can be
>> used to maintain monitoring information on other species for which there 
>> are
>> relatively good data.
>> We've got the elephant and the database in common. If you think a
>> collaboration could be productive and mutually beneficial, please let me
>> know so that we can begin to explore the options. 
>> I look forward to hearing from you.
>> Sincerely,
>> Julian Blanc
>> Manager, African Elephant Database
>> IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist Group
>> Email: julian(dot)blanc(at)iucn(dot)org
>> Web:
>> --------------------------------------------------
> ---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
> TIP 5: don't forget to increase your free space map settings

Marc G. Fournier           Hub.Org Networking Services (
Email: scrappy(at)hub(dot)org           Yahoo!: yscrappy              ICQ: 7615664

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