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Conservation Services

Metadata Driven Data Search and Access

SANParks data registry is a cooperative project between SANParks, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), the UC Natural Reserve System, and the South African Earth Observatory (SAEON).

The Data Registry is based on software developed by the Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity (KNB), and houses metadata that are compliant with Ecological Metadata Language (EML). The system has a search facility whereby users can search for metadata and data using keywords. Direct access to downloading the specific datasets will be determined by both the users access and permissions that will be determined by the data manager as well as the usage rights of the specific datasets. There will be a number of datasets that will have no restrictions and that anyone will be able to download. GIS shape files can be stored and downloaded by creating FGDC metadata in ARCGIS.The datasets themselves can with the help of Morpho be uploaded into the database. The data egistry can be accessed at We ask that reaserchers that have completed their projects follow the guidelines provided on the project page and supply us with their data to include into this catalogue.

The Spatial Search Facility allows researchers who are interested in research in a particular National Park to do a spatial query and obtain all the datasets that are available for that area. If you would like any additional information or have problems accessing the data catalogue please contact Judith Botha.

Data access & sharing policy

We have developed a data access and sharing agreement that we require users to complete before we supply them with the requested datasets that are not available through the data registry. For the datasets that have restrictions placed on them like the Copyright data we only release this data when we have this agreement. This agreement covers the following:


Digital and non-digital data and metadata belonging to SANParks Scientific Services are provided on an "as-is" basis with no guarantee as to data quality. Neither the staff nor South African National Parks (SANParks) may be held liable for any loss of any sort resulting from use of data and/metadata provided by Scientific Services.

Data Access and Ownership

The Scientific Services data are intended for use as implied by the data category. All data collected and captured by SANParks registered researchers and staff belong jointly to the researcher and to SANParks.

Data Categories

Data provided by Scientific Services fall into one or more of the categories below:

  1. Copyright data;
  2. Lead-time protected data; (LTP)
  3. Sensitive data;
  4. Protected data;
  5. Open data;

Data derived from other data (whether by the user or as provided by the data manager) is categorized according to the most restrictive combination of their source data categories. For example, if copyright data is combined with open data to produce another dataset, then that derived dataset is categorized as copyright data.

Conditions of Use

  1. Copyright data may only be used for non-profit research.
  2. LTP datamay be distributed only with written consent of the registered researcher, even though SANParks is a co-owner of the data. SANParks is also prohibited from using the data without permission from the registered researcher until the LTP period has expired (whereafter the data are to be reclassified into a different Data Category.) During the LTP period, the registered researcher is encouraged to allow access to a summarized version of the data or can allow collaborations on the entire dataset.
  3. Sensitive data will be distributed at the discretion of the database administrator, subject to local and international laws.
  4. Protected data may be distributed with permission from the data owner only.

Only researchers that have registered projects will gain access to the above 4 classes of data. These researchers are to destroy all copies of the data when they are finished using it except for archive and backup purposes. Furthermore, they shall not distribute the data themselves and shall ensure that they take reasonable precautions against the theft of the data. The public data is open for anyone to use.