Title EuroGIS-GPS: Testing a competency framework for biodiversity data collection
Project Number UK/11/LLP-LdV/TOI-463
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Country UK-United Kingdom
The project has transferred training materials used to introduce skills and knowledge of geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) used in biodiversity (wildlife and habitat) mapping.
Additional generic and country specific materials have been added and set in the local country context and all the resources needed (from recruitment to potential vocational qualification) to deliver a training package have been generated.
Two training workshops were held in each of the 5 partner countries in order to test the delivery model and allow for it to be adapted (based on trainee feedback) and delivered again. Each delivery was within the scope of an appropriate competency framework. Progress has been made towards including a subject relevant qualification on the EQF.
Further information is available via the project website at www.EuroGIS-GPS.eu
The aim of this project was to transfer competencies and qualifications, adapt them to a common set of standards and then test these (twice) on trainees (those working for, or seeking to work for, organizations involved in biodiversity management).
This project has analyzed existing training needs and then produced learning content linked to the delivery of GPS & GIS competencies. Pathways have been identified which would lead some of the partner countries to be able to deliver a vocational qualification for this area of learning. Progress has also been made, therefore, on a European qualification. Innovative webinar (online seminar) technology has been tested for project partner meetings and to support learners but the rural location of many of the partners/learners pushed this technology to the limit.
The project has delivered training packages to Countryside Rangers/Volunteers (prospective and existing) enabling them to directly use their new skills in the workplace with immediate effect. A new learner confidence index measurement tool has revealed a consistent and high level of learner skills retention three months post-learning. Written personal testimonials have been collected from each partner country and also included in a project dissemination video
The partnership has successfully bought together educational, ecological and technology professionals from not-for-profits, research institutes, universities and charities to deliver consistent and beneficial training to the target audience of existing and potential Countryside Rangers/Volunteers.
The need to manage the natural world, particularly with global climate change, using reliable science based strategies is important. Collecting electronic location records is the first step. This requires a recording system and a competent operator. The former is a hand held Global Positioning System (GPS) which records location. Linking the GPS to a Geographic Information System (GIS) enhances observations and data archiving by making analysis swift and seamless.
This project has transferred existing non-accredited GPS-GIS training materials and adapted them to different EU situations before testing their delivery. This has demonstrated a pathway to future accreditation under the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).
The project has produced a standardized European training package for Countryside Ranger/Volunteers.
This ToI project has transferred current learning delivery on the practical and integrated use of GPS-GIS systems for collecting biodiversity data and adapted them in order to produce and pilot a standardised competency framework disseminating the results to user groups, decision makers and future trainees.
Recognition, transparency, certification
Open and distance learning
Utilization and distribution of results
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Other Service Activities
Information and Communication
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
program or curricula
open and distance learning
The project was divided into 7 Work Packages with tasks and subtasks against which task-and-finish actions would be monitored.
Contracts and IPR agreements were produced and signed off at an early stage. 7 full project partner meetings (4 face-to-face) and 3 on-line Webinar/Skype meetings were held over the life of the project. Four additional one-to-one partner meetings (UK+HU, UK+PT and UK+HU and UK+NO) also supported partners and progressed the project tasks. Numerous one-to-one on-line (Skype) meetings were held between the project coordinator and individual partner organizations.
During the spring and summer of 2012 the project developed the EuroGIS-GPS training materials including: online trainee skills scan survey, pre-training activities and video introduction to GPS Unit, face-to-face training materials – PowerPt slides on use of GPS / GIS, GPS survey task, GIS data manipulation task, signposting to further information and support - post training survey task, post-training webinar virtual meeting, final online skills scan. The same model GPS Units were purchased by each partner and the same version of QGIS open source software was used. This consistency of equipment made training delivery consistent across all EU countries.
An initial trial of the delivery of accreditation linked to the UK Information Technology Qualification took place during the UK Test 1 training delivery but was considered to be too onerous within the learning timeframe and was dropped for all subsequent partner learning delivery.
The project design template has been established and distributed. Dissemination products (T-shirts, Website, Trainee recruitment video – translated to local languages - Memory sticks, Display banners and 2x project newsletters) were produced. Needs analysis, trainee recruitment information and dissemination products were distributed via local partner email networks. On-line project information publications were achieved.
Project evaluation captured data from trainers, trainees and project partners and a project external evaluator (Dr David Knight, Open University, UK) monitored the project throughout and contributed to the final project evaluation report (available at www.eurogis-gps.eu). Monthly update reports were sent to Ecorys. By late 2012 all partners had successfully undertaken their first training package delivery (1st Test - WP5) and results were presented at a full partner meeting in Portugal in early October.
Feedback from trainers, trainees and project managers for Test 1 informed Test 2 and by late spring 2013 all partners had completed their Test 2 delivery. A full partner meeting in the UK in the summer of 2013 heard the results along with amalgamated data from Test 1 on the learner confidence. Trainees had been asked to complete pre-training online ‘skills scan’ surveys and then 3 month post-training to repeat the survey. Data revealed significant increases in learner confidence in the three areas of learning (GIS, GPS and field surveys) and across all countries.
Statistical analysis of results showed an average 36% increase in learner confidence across the three main areas investigated - 48% GPS, 49% GIS and 30% field survey skills. The results were consistent across all learners and all countries.
Evaluation of the project culminated in a positive final report (www.eurogis-gps.eu).
Dissemination newsletters (March and July 2013) were produced. A final Dissemination event (trainers and trainees attending) was held in Poland in September 2013 just before the project end date at which the project dissemination video (www.eurogis-gps.eu) was shown and subsequently distributed via partner networks and social media (Twitter). All partners have focused dissemination works on promoting the project via in-country specialist publications/networks relevant to the sector.
All partners have actively explored their own in-country pathways to accreditation for EuroGIS-GP competencies with UK achieving approved as National Occupational Standards (NOS) as part of this project in March 2012. Exploitation plans have been articulated and the project partners have now identified potential ways forward into commercial exploitation and a ToI2 project that could address vocational skills needs at different levels and follow through on the accrediation pathways identified during this project to produce a tangible and achievable timeline to new in-country EuroGIS-GPS vocational qualification as part of the European Qualification Framework (EQF).