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Dutch mosquito data used for distribution maps disease vectors

15 / 12 / 2013, NLBIF

Dutch GBIF data found and used to an increasing degree by organisations that build thematic data portals.

Mosquito data from the Dutch water boards, stored in STOWA's database, are added to VectorMap. VectorMap is a service built by the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit at the Smithsonian Institute in the USA. VectorMap delivers disease distribution maps. Data on arthropod disease-spreading organisms (vectors) obtained from museum collections or files with observational data are used for this purpose.

VectorMap distribution maps contain information about diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, sand fleas, mites and fleas, as well as information identifying exactly which diseases are transmitted by each vector type. Almost 1000 Dutch mosquito data records have been added to the mosquito database and are visible in the MosquitoMap. The mapping of disease vectors is of great importance for modelling the potential spread of newly emerging, or re-emerging diseases such as Malaria and Dengue fever.

Although this is a nice example of the role the GBIF infrastructure can play in global initiatives, is has to be underlined that it also demonstrated the shortcomings of the system. There are actually much more and important Dutch mosquito data known, but for policy reasons not (yet) publicly available. The complete VectorMap information for the Netherlands is thus still in the making.