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Joint Cetacean Data Programme

The vision of the Joint Cetacean Data Programme (JCDP) is to promote and facilitate cetacean data standardisation and maximise value through collation and enabling of universal access. This is achieved through the JCDP platform and tools developed to improve collection, collation and accessibility of cetacean data.

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The Joint Cetacean Data Programme (JCDP) is a collaborative international initiative which aims reduce the barriers to accessing cetacean (whale, dolphin and porpoise) data and support mobilisation of the growing evidence collected via multiple means. It aims to standardise the collection of effort-based cetacean at-sea data and ensure that, once collected, data can be used for many purposes for the benefit of cetacean science.

Cetaceans are highly mobile species that pose challenges to our understanding due to their widespread and cryptic behaviours which make them challenging to observe. At-sea cetacean data collection is often difficult and expensive, but the resulting data are vital to improving our understanding of these species and drawing accurate conclusions on population size, dynamics and changes over time. Cetacean data are currently collected by a wide range of organisations for a wide variety of purposes, with a common goal of clearer understanding of cetacean abundance and distribution in their area of interest. Independently, much of these data are limited in capacity to perform analyses at relevant spatial and temporal scales, but together, have the potential to significantly increase our understanding of these species.

The JCDP provides a platform and set of resources to support the collection and utilisation of standardised cetacean survey data. These resources include a Data Standard, a Data Portal, and Metadata catalogue  along with this Information Hub, which provides guidance on the collection, collation and use of these data. To find out more about the conception and development of the JCDP you can read the background of the JCDP.


The JCDP Platform

The JCDP platform comprises of three interlinked web pages: the JNCC Information Hub (these web pages); the JCDP Data Portal (hosted on the ICES Data Centre); and the JCDP Metadata Catalogue (hosted on the ICES GeoNetwork). These sites provide data collectors, custodians, and users with the ability to upload and access cetacean survey data and associated information on how and why these data were collected. They also provide additional information to support the standardised collection and management of JCDP-compliant cetacean survey data to ensure the highest possible data quality and usability.


The JCDP Information Hub

The JCDP Information Hub is hosted on the JNCC website and consists of a series of pages that provide information about the JCDP and its history as well as guidance documents to support data contributors and users on how to use the JCDP.

A key aspect of the JCDP is the JCDP Data Standard, which outlines the criteria data must meet in order to be compliant with the JCDP and how these data should be formatted, for which there is a data submission template. A number of resources are available to support the collection and provision of cetacean survey data to the JCDP. These resources and documents include the JCDP Data Standardguidance on metadata and resources to help inform cetacean survey protocols.

To find out more about the conception and development of the JCDP you can read the background of the JCDP.


The JCDP Data Portal

The JCDP Data Portal enables data providers to upload cetacean survey data directly and data users to explore and download datasets. The Data Portal was launched in summer 2022, and comprises the database, with map and dashboard for data visualisation. The data portal is part of the The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) biodiversity data centre, hosted and managed by ICES.


The JCDP Metadata Catalogue

Each survey dataset submitted to the JCDP data portal is linked to a metadata record, hosted on the ICES GeoNetwork. These records provide further information about how and why the data was collected and processed, as well as information on access and data ownership. The JCDP data portal also has an overarching metadata record.



JCDP Governance

The JCDP Platform is governed by a dedicated ICES working group (Working Group on the Joint Cetacean Data Programme WGJCDP) – which oversees and manages the JCDP data portal, information and resources. The JCDP was developed with the guidance of a steering group with cross-sector representation to ensure the JCDP fit the needs of data collectors and users. See the JCDP Background page for more information on the conception and governance of the platform.


How to contribute JCDP data

The JCDP collates effort-related cetacean survey data collected from a vessel or aerial platforms. Organisations or individuals collecting these data which follow the agreed Data Standard are encouraged to contribute via the Data Portal using the data template.

The JCDP provides guidance to data providers via this website to assist in the preparation of survey data for inclusion in the JCDP database. You can find these resources on the JCDP Resources page.


How to access JCDP data

The JCDP Data Portal provides the dashboard and tools necessary to search, filter and download third party data held within the JCDP. The JCDP Data Access Guidance  provides detailed instruction on using the Portal to browse, view and download survey records and use the complimentary JCDP Metadata Catalogue.

For more information, please contact us.


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