Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Federation University Australia

ProjectState Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams (SWIFFT): visualising Victoria’s biodiversity

Amount$120,000 (total)

Date2016 ($30k) & 2017 ($90k)

ProgramPast Programs | Environment

These grants were approved under previous grants policy (2014-2017)
Rural and regional Victoria Actively involve all rural and regional areas of Victoria and harness the strength of knowledge sharing between scientists and the community
Building organisational capacity Establish an adaptable knowledge management system that will significantly build capacity to share information regarding biodiversity conservation and threatened species
Collaboration and partnership Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, 21 municipalities, 10 Catchment Management Authorities and approximately 20 community groups

Encouraging community participation is pivotal to the success of biodiversity conservation strategies

New knowledge-sharing approaches can engage diverse sectors of society and facilitate opportunities for collaboration and partnership. This project sees the expansion of Statewide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams (SWIFFT), a freely accessible network for sharing biodiversity knowledge, observations, projects, current events, ideas and access information from experts in their field.

Image Lead researcher Dr Birgita Hansen radio tracking birds for the Latham’s Snipe project which features on the SWIFFT and VVB websites. Photo: Richard Chamberlain

This powerful collaboration between educational, scientific, farming, conservation, indigenous, private and public sectors has created a valued biodiversity resource. SWIFFT takes a whole-of-Victoria focus to source, collate and make available threatened species information through its website and video conferences.


  • SWIFFT is a project of the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI), a global leader in web-based spatial information systems at Federation University Australia.
  • The key goal is to engage with other biodiversity stakeholders from across the community to share knowledge and enhance biodiversity planning.
  • SWIFFT actively encourages contributions from members of the community, conservationists, field naturalists, farmers, land carers, researchers, scientists, management agencies and environmental professionals.
  • HMSTrust’s grant of $30,000 in 2016 enabled SWIFFT to build and strengthen existing relationships and engagement, and implement a new SWIFFT website, designed to complement existing CeRDI portals. The result is an interoperable knowledge management portal which feeds into a broader information system, Visualising Victoria’s Biodiversity (VVB).
  • A second grant of $90,000 over two years in 2017 has enabled SWIFFT to continue to extend awareness of SWIFFT and VVB across Victoria, developing and extending new and existing partnerships, as well as allowing for implementation of improvements to advance interoperable data sharing and knowledge management.
  • Geospatial biodiversity information has been made freely available on the VVB portal, allowing users to query all data simultaneously using an interactive mapping tool.
  • Information on the site is drawn from up to 50 datasets including DELWP, Atlas of Living Australia, BirdLife Australia and the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas.
  • The website is also be designed to display and link to other relevant resources that cannot be spatially represented.



Updated 26 September 2018

“The combination of knowledge sharing networks, citizen science and technology is a powerful mechanism for generating information to support education, planning, decision making and on-ground action for biodiversity conservation.” Assoc Prof Helen Thompson, Director, CeRDI, FedUni.