Topic: Gateway web services

As previously mentioned here and also at the LRC conference, the NBN Gateway team are currently focusing on developing a series of web services.  A prototype of the first of these, the grid map service, should be available for testing by the end of January.

The specification is to develop an XML SOAP service enabling a customised map image and XML feed, containing grid references, metadata etc. to be returned.  The technical detail for the web services is available on the NBN Web Services forum ( 

Whilst SOAP provides a powerful and flexible method for querying data from the Gateway, I suspect that it is not a practical option for many potential users.  It would be interesting to know what server languages are available on existing LRC websites


Re: Gateway web services

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the update. Intrgration of the NBN web service into an existing site is one service which will be useful. The main usage as we see the service is to integrate data from the gateway into internal LRC searches too.

We have a SOAP interface which is part of the Rails application framework. I hope to host the dynamic parts of our web site from our in-house servers thus providing a SOAP interface.

The simpler interface does make sense,  simple does not always mean second best! (Not that you're implying it is)

The URL interface would provide a quick way to access your services and allow LRC's who may not be able to programme SOAP services, but can design their own web pages. A URL is a clean way to test parameters. I would be happy to use such an interface. A parameter to flag the required format of the returned data would be useful (e.g. HTML or XML). Also, plain text with TAB delimiters if fine by me too.


Re: Gateway web services

The latest version of the NBN Gateway web services are now available for testing. We have started writing a library section on the NBN Gateway website ( … sIndex.jsp) to document the services and provide examples. Here you can find the latest versions of the schemas ( … d_wsdl.jsp).

There are some examples in java using the web services. These will be extended over the coming weeks and, hopefully, will also cover .net and php.

The services are in still in development, but in summary the current functionality available includes:
1. GridMap - lets you create a grid map of species record distribution

2. Taxon Groups Lists - create a list of taxon groups
a. For a known site (i.e. SSSI where we have the boundary on the gateway.
b. 10km grid square
c. Point defined using easting and northing or lat long coordinates
d. Point + buffer
e. Bounding box
f. Multi-part polygon

3. Species Lists - create a list of species based on any of the spatial filters described above, or create a species list of all species recorded on the Gateway. Species lists can be filtered by
taxonomic group (e.g. butterflies) and/or designation (BAP, SOCC, Scottish Biodiversity List).

4. Species records - Get species records for
a. Point defined using easting and northing or lat long coordinates
b. Point + buffer
c. Bounding box
d. Multi-part polygon
e. All records for a single species
Records for species from a known site and 10km grid square are not currently available.

For more detailed descriptions refer either to the schemas and documentation or the web service descriptions on the Gateway library.

Finally, we are hoping the smart groups forum ( will become the focal point for discussion of the services. If you have any questions or bugs to report - which I'm sure you probably will if you start playing wink - please send them into that forum.

Re: Gateway web services


Smartgroups have been having some serious problems since Christmas and perhaps before that even. The Recorder group has been dead in the water. Perhaps it would be better to host your forum on Yahoo Groups or a proper listserver to ensure reliability?