RSPB migrates to ESRI (UK) to create a better future for Britain’s birds

14 September 09 – Aylesbury: The RSPB is overhauling its geographic information system (GIS) technology to improve its support for wildlife conservation across the UK, by signing a new contract with ESRI (UK), the market leader in GIS.

Using centralised data and geographic information, 1,600 RSPB staff and volunteers will be able to access and view current and future projects including conservation activities. The ability to view external activities such as planning applications will also help the RSPB reduce the impact on nesting and feeding sites. Having access to detailed information for species protection work will help the RSPB to identify more quickly the location of “danger zones” where wildlife is under threat.

The roll-out of the GIS software is part of an enterprise-wide shift to ESRI technology covering the RSPB’s head office in Sandy, Bedfordshire and 130 nature reserves throughout the UK and Northern Ireland. Over ten million wildlife records have been transferred from the RSPB’s old data system to the upgraded ESRI GIS and improved data capabilities will enhance project work and provide all employees, including conservationists out in the field, with access to live geographic information.

The RSPB has been using GIS for over ten years, gathering data and mapping the nest locations of Britain’s birds. The charity identified the need to update Merlin (its existing database and GIS system) to enable it to collect, analyse and visualise more sophisticated levels of information. It also required enhanced mobile GIS functionality so that data collected by conservationists on the ground could be updated in the central database in real time.

As part of the programme, a new web interface has been designed to host high level information across the organisation. A specialised conservation team, the Conservation Data Management Unit, is responsible for updating information to develop GIS data; it is also responsible for the roll out and training of the software to all 130 reserves and the RSPB’s regional offices.

Frank James, Project Manager, RSPB said: “The use of ESRI products in our new system allows us to more easily collect and present conservation science in a graphical way. This enhances our ability to provide a voice for nature when talking to decision makers.”

Richard Waite, Managing Director, ESRI (UK) said: “ESRI (UK)’s founding principles included GIS being used to help manage major conservation and environmental issues. ESRI GIS is offering the RSPB improved management of wildlife protection now and for future generations, in line with our vision for GIS.”

About ESRI (UK)
ESRI (UK) ( is part of the global ESRI network. With the single, largest pool of GIS expertise in the UK, the company is the technical authority on GIS. ESRI (UK) provides solutions, technology and services including off the shelf applications built on the ArcGIS software suite and an extensive range of consulting and training services.
ESRI (UK)’s offerings meet a range of business needs in different markets including Business, Local & Central Government, Defence, Public Safety, Utilities and Telecommunications, as well as catering for system integrators and application developers through the ESRI Developer Network.
ESRI (UK)’s customers include both public sector clients such as Leeds City Council, Metropolitan Police, DCLG, The Environment Agency and businesses including Thames Water, RSA Group and The AA.
ESRI (UK) helps businesses become more profitable and public service more efficient through the better use of geographic information. The ability to understand customers' needs and harness the power of GIS for the long-term benefit of organisations is what we call Visionary Thinking.

About RSPB
The RSPB ( is Europe’s largest conservation charity working for a better environment rich in birds and wildlife. With more than 1 million members, the Society also has over 200 nature reserves covering 129,000 hectares, 12,000 volunteers, 1,300 staff, 10 regional offices and four country offices. More than a million people visit the RSPB's sites each year, including thousands of school children who benefit from its network of field teaching centres.

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